Editorial: Community’s efforts laudable

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 4, 2002

Within the next few weeks, Albert Lea will learn the fate of at least two important efforts that, many say, will have a lot to do with the city’s direction. One is the school referendum, and the other is the effort to land a Ford Motor Company distribution center.

We can’t say now how either will turn out, but the effort to make both dreams a reality has brought out the best in the city, from elected and appointed officials, to Greater Jobs, Inc., down to regular people who are doing their part to spread positive messages.

The candid and open discussion about Ford has been a breath of fresh air; finally, this high-profile opportunity has allowed the people to witness an economic development effort and hear an informed perspective about how it works. Often, these discussions happen behind closed doors because of confidentiality concerns, but in this case, Ford’s decision to make its options public has allowed Freeborn County residents to know of the opportunity beforehand. Greater Jobs and others have lately focused on promoting the school referendum as a way of making the community more attractive to Ford. They are demonstrating they understand the big picture and, given the opportunity, are willing to take an important stand.

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Speaking of the referendum, the community group promiting it, TEAM, has done more than we could have imagined to get the word out. From billboards to newspaper columns to radio shows to person-to-person meetings and campaigning, they have been everywhere over the last month. If the referendum does not pass, it certainly won’t be because of lack of effort. A recent mailing by a coalition of large employers and individuals was another sign of a strong community effort and was another positive message for Albert Lea.

It’s great to see so many people getting involved and conducting these important discussions out in the open. We hope that no matter what the outcome of these two efforts, that community spirit will survive and remain positive.