With all the negativity of the political scene bombarding us day in and day out, the news broadcasts haven't been very appealing of late. All that negativity is becoming depressing.
That's why it was refreshing to get some good news last week.
That news was the announcement last week that put an end to the rumors the vacant SkyJack facility in Emmetsburg had been sold.
The sprawling facility on the south edge of town was purchased by Aluma, Ltd., a manufacturer of aluminum trailers and products, which was founded and operates in Bancroft, comes as most welcome news for the area. An empty building will soon be filled with workers and product. That means economic impact more people will have jobs, those jobs will provide salaries, those salaries will result in more income in the local area economy more shopping for groceries, fuel, entertainment and other items.
Any way you look at it, the situation is truly win-win. But, there are those who will disagree, or choose not to see how that can be. So, let's break this down a bit.
First, we had an empty building, over 100,000 square feet of empty. The complex was built as a manufacturing facility, with ceiling cranes, loading docks, industrial electrical systems and accessibility to a major highway. There was plenty of room for employee parking as well, and a suite of spaces for offices along with the manufacturing spaces.
Second, we have Aluma in Bancroft. Since its inception in the 1990's, the firm has expanded a couple of times and quite frankly, was running out of room. In today's economy, building new buildings isn't all that cheap. And, a second consideration when a business expands its space, it usually needs more employees to fill that space.
In visiting with economic development officials after the announcement was made, I learned that the folks at Aluma looked hard at building new, but the price for such an option wasn't favorable. And, there was also a need for an additional labor pool from which to draw new employees.
The SkyJack building came up on their radar, and that's when the hard work began. A visit to the building gave the folks from Alumna some ideas how it could work for their plans. Negotiations began between Aluma and SkyJack, a delicate process, to be sure. All through the process, there were lots of hours of work by realtors, economic development officials, city and county government officials and the private sector, all working towards a final goal meeting the needs of Aluma in a way that would benefit everyone.
We're darn fortunate all the pieces of a big puzzle fell into place successfully for all parties involved.
Aluma will close on the building Nov. 1. There are plans to make some modifications and updates to the facility, which has stood vacant for several years, but the long-range plans call for Aluma to move its enclosed trailer fabrication operations to Emmetsburg, and also to base research and development for new product offerings out of the Emmetsburg location as well. And, there will be somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 to 25 people gaining new jobs by the end of the year.
That sounds like a great Christmas present for the area to me.
Everyone who put in the time and effort to make this happen deserves our deepest appreciation and congratulations for a job well done. We welcome Aluma Ltd. to Emmetsburg and Palo Alto County and hope they will enjoy our hard-working, friendly people.
All too often, the term "economic development" becomes a target for those who feel tax dollars could be better spent elsewhere. The thing is, economic development is truly for all the people. It doesn't just provide a job for somebody in the long run, there will be additional taxable valuations, added property tax revenues and maybe not as importantly, one less empty building slowly decaying away.