Marinette County is once again stirring up interest through different methods of action to bolster economic development and community development. This time we think county leaders are serious about moving forward with the task.

Promoting economic and community development is not new in our county or in other counties in Wisconsin. Practically every county in the state has had economic development on the table in recent years, some counties are more aggressive than others. Our news staff has been reporting on committee meetings regarding economic development at both the county board and Marinette City Council for years. Towns and villages within the county have had their share of the same topic.

We’ve seen some positive steps taken over time, but we’ve also seen too much dilly-dallying. Political games aren’t only played in Washington or Madison. They are played in small communities as well. 

The latest round of economic development intensified after county supervisors listened to what business and industry leaders had to say during a panel discussion last fall at the UW-Green Bay, Marinette Campus. The committee instructed County Administrator John Lefebvre to identify a consultant and for the Bay Lakes Regional Planning Commission to develop a plan related to the role the county should play in preparing an economic development blueprint.

After looking at his options, the administrator believes that a third party would be the key to review the opportunities and options and come in with some suggestions on what is working and the proper steps to take to improve the situation. Lefebvre prefers working with Bay Lake Regional Planning Commission and perhaps a consultant to come up with some recommendations.

The positive results of what happened at the Menekaunee Harbor development project when consultants and professionals with the expertise and experience in that line of work should be fresh in the minds of local residents.

County Board Chairman Mark Anderson struck a valid point when he pointed out that at the moment each member of the 30-person county board has different views on how to proceed. He said the county needs someone to come in and talk to focus groups in all corners of the county to flush out the needs on a countywide basis and then put together a plan that will be satisfactory to everyone. Getting everyone on board with the same concept, however, may be a huge challenge, but it’s worth a try. Getting a majority of folks to agree on a plan sounds more reasonable.

The city of Marinette, and the county as a whole, has the momentum to make things happen. The rural districts of the county have tons of positive possibilities that need to be looked at. We think the county board is pointed in the right direction. Getting all hands to pitch in and cooperate with the vast arsenal of ideas that are put out there is critical to the mission.