Luring new business or trying to get an established company to relocate is no easy task.

Economic development is an ongoing process that needs nurturing and constant attention. In these chaotic economic times, communities want to retain every job and every company to sustain local economies.

Community leaders in Dayton, Ohio are reeling from the announcement that National Cash Register will be relocating its 125-year-old corporate headquarters to Duluth, Georgia.

The Dayton plant employs almost 1,300 people and makes ATM units for the financial market.

Dayton has been hard hit by the economy. Since April 2008 it has seen the loss of 13,700 jobs. Think about it this way — everyone but 2,000 people in Claremore losing their jobs —then it gives it real perspective.

Apparently NCR was looking for government incentives, which they received from the city of Duluth and Georgia. Ohio officials couldn’t match the $60 million in aid NCR will receive to relocate. Ohio could only come up with $30 million.

Economic development is not for the faint of heart, nor is it for anyone without deep pockets.

Claremore and Rogers County have dodged the bullet when it comes to job losses. Several manufacturers have trimmed jobs, but not to the extent we’ve seen across the country. For this we can be thankful, but our governmental entities need to be poised to retain existing jobs while at the same time work diligently to bring new industries to our community.

Claremore residents continue to inquire on the status of the Oklahoma Plaza project. There was great pomp and circumstance surrounded the ground breaking, but since then some dirt has been shifted on the site with little visible evidence of concrete progress.

Claremore Deputy City Manager Matt Mueller told me this week, the city is waiting with it’s part of the project, which is providing the necessary infrastructure to the site — utilities and connecting streets.

Mueller said there was a “dramatic” slow down after the “quick out of the gate” start by Resource Development Inc. from Missouri.

Since September RDI has reshaped the initial project due to many national retail companies pulling back with a wait and see outlook.

Work is ongoing at the site and recent site photos show the developer is installing storm sewer and streets for the project, Mueller said.

The first phase may include one or two hotels and possibly up to two restaurants, but Mueller said no details have been publically released. There are hopes part of the project will be open by the end of the year, he said.

Claremore residents will have to be patient as RDI slowly gives birth to Oklahoma Plaza. At least the community has some economic development activity and is not facing the massive loss of jobs like other communities.

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