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Saturday, Apr. 30, 2016

Clay County economic development possible, but not easy, expert says

Friday, April 8, 2005



Economic development is possible in Clay County, but it's not going to be easy.

"As time has moved on, communities want to mount their own efforts...but funding is difficult," Terre Haute Economic Development Corporation President Steven Witt said.

Witt has been working with economic development in Vigo County for the past 17 years. He detailed the change in the county during the last 20 years.

During the 1980s the unemployment rate was between 12 and 13 percent in Vigo County. Today there is such an interest in economic development and career opportunities that the corporation has been able to recruit nine new primary members since the first of the year.

It involves more than interested people to develop, he told the Brazil Rotary Club Wednesday.

"It's the marginal cost of doing business that is high," he said. "You got to have some fairly significant resources behind it."

Witt explained the process of business relocation to Rotary members.

The state of Indiana is the county's No. 1 partner in this. Ninety percent of leads given to economic development organizations are given by the state, he said.

"Oftentimes what a company will do is contact the state," he said.

Economic growth helps everyone, he said.

"I'd like to extend an invitation if there's anything we can do for Clay County," Witt said. "We do live in a regional economy...I think we'll all benefit if a new company goes in Clay County or Vigo."

Witt also told the group, comprised of business people and others with an interest in the financial health of the area, that plans are being made to lure a charter air service to the Terre Haute airport. The company would serve selected cities on the East Coast. However, nothing is definite, Witt said.

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