As a reader, if you took anything away from a report on a presentation to Warren County movers and shakers by representatives of "Destination Erie," should be this: Erie needs us.
Touting what they described as a regional approach to economic development, the Destination Erie folks were in Warren to make sure we are on board with the umbrella that extends not only eastward from Erie County to Warren County, but northward to Chautauqua County, N.Y., and west to Ashtabula County, Ohio.
Armed with impressive graphics festooned with arrows and labels, they offered up talking points that are difficult to deny. For instance, "Warren County is part of a bigger whole as far as how the economy functions," and " "You have to make some bets on the future...There are limited chips... where to bet them?"
We've heard these sort of generalities before, and we've heard nebulous plans based on those generalities.
But, economic development is born in the trenches. It comes from the difficult and frustrating work of contacting resident entrepreneuers, finding their needs, and catering to those needs so they might expand their operations. It is maintaining an inventory of available and desirable locations with which to lure new entrepreneuers, all the while coordinating the resources of the private sector and government to enhance a community's business allure.
We're not trying to belittle the efforts of the Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness, the organization behind "Destination Erie," but we hope that the cliches and hopeful talk at the presentation will ultimately translate into the detail-oriented work already being done by those individual economic development councils and chambers of commerce in those individual locations.
Of course, as the Destination Erie folks pointed out, joining five counties in three states would make it easier to qualify for federal dollars.
Maybe that's the most important impetus for cooperation.