Partnerships are a great way to drive community growth.
Witness the recent announcement that Myers Autoworld and Ford Autoworld will be moving from their current home along North Broadway to a new location off Scatterfield Road near the 38th Street intersection.
There’s no doubt that the new location makes good business sense for Myers, and it’s obviously important to the community to keep such local businesses vibrant and strong. But others benefit from this deal, as well.
Let us count the ways:
u Myers is giving its Broadway location to Ivy Tech Community College to develop an automotive service technician training facility, which will draw additional students to Madison County.
u The city of Anderson will benefit, because the auto dealerships are moving to a brownfield site that had been the home of General Motors Plant 11. Through the state Community Revitalization Enhancement District (CRED) program, the city will be able to capture sales tax money generated there and use it for infrastructure improvement in the CRED zone.
u The people of Anderson win, as well: Autoworld President Mary Jamerson estimates Myers will invest $7 million in the new site and the company will hire 30 additional workers.
By our math, that’s four groups of winners — the auto dealerships, Ivy Tech, Anderson city government and the people of the community.
Now, rest assured that Myers could have selected another site that would suit its business interests. But by partnering with the city and with Ivy Tech, auto dealership officials helped the community capitalize on the move.
These sorts of partnerships can be seen elsewhere in the community as well, particularly at the Flagship Enterprise Center, where a strong collaboration among Anderson University, Purdue University, the city and others are helping train skilled professionals and foster promising businesses.
But certainly many more opportunities for such partnerships exist across Madison County. For example, a local endowment fund could be created to attach the names of corporate sponsors to city parks, thereby creating funds for park programming and improvement and giving businesses positive exposure in the community.
We can all be guilty of narrow vision when it comes to our business pursuits, but partnering with government, other businesses and community activists can be good for everybody.
The story of Myers Autoworld and former GM Plant 11 site illustrates the power of creative partnerships in boosting community interests.