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Last summer, the announcement - by the governor, no less - that a $43-million chicken processing plant would bring hundreds of new jobs to Marion County was welcome news.
And just as significant, it would have added some diversity to the county's industrial base.
The prospect of a new plant opening in the foreseeable future was a reason to remain hopeful, even while the economy continued to decline locally and nationally.
We expect that many people, including ourselves, are disappointed by the recent announcement that Rancho Poultry will not be coming.
According to Ed Sanchez, a Rancho Poultry executive, the decision boiled down to economics. In our current economic climate, building a new plant in Lebanon was cost prohibitive when compared with the price of renovating an existing plant.
For people who have been out of work for some time, we're certain Rancho Poultry's decision was discouraging.
It would be easy to the look at the work that's already been done in preparation for the plant and become even more disappointed. An access road leads to a vacant lot, and water and sewer pipes are ready to provide service to a non-existent plant.
Yet, somehow we must try our best to stay positive. As they say, every cloud has a silver lining, and our silver lining may just be the prep work that has already been completed.
Tom Lund, the Marion County Economic Development director, believes the work that's already been done will make the 25-acre site on Highway 208 more attractive to other companies.
To that end, we strongly encourage the economic development office and the Marion County Industrial Foundation to redouble their efforts to find a company ready to build.
Sanchez said he enjoyed working with local officials, and we are convinced local officials could and would work just as well with other companies if given the opportunity.
We look forward to future announcements of new businesses coming to our community.
Until then, we remain grateful to live in a community that has already proven (during the ice storm) that its people will help one another get through the tough times.
We could all use a little encouragement right about now, and some of us could use a lot.