Economic Development Will Occur After Rita - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

11/16/05 - Nacogdoches

Economic Development Will Occur After Rita

by Donna McCollum

It's a logical assumption that the devastation of Hurricane Rita across parts of East Texas would destroy future economic development. That's not what leaders from those communities learned at the East Texas Economic Development Summit.

Research economist Dr. Charles Gilliland referred to the findings of Forbes Magazine. "They tracked what happened to personal income, what happened to employment, what happened to the value of housing stock following four major disaster and, without exception, they were all remarkable, sizable increases the following year."

Economists recognize many areas took a major setback, but they're confident communities will recuperate. Economist Dr. Greg Clary said, "We just look at it as a new opportunity." The same rules that apply before a disaster apply after one. Economic development relies on diversification and the ability to capitalize on the benefits of your area. Clary advised, "Those businesses that continue to look at the natural resources will do well. Look at the assets of the area. The natural resources are definitely one of the big assets."

Senator Todd Staples told the counties he represents to have patience. "You have to put a lot of hooks in the water to catch a fish. Everything we do is not going to be immediately successful, but we have to plan for the future. Plant the seeds today so the next generation of East Texans can have something to harvest."

Summit Honors Volunteers

Hurricane Rita volunteers were also honored at the Economic Development Summit. They come from each of the 22 East Texas counties that helped residents and evacuees. The honorees played a major role in the rescue and evacuation process. They also represent hundreds of local volunteers from their communities who helped move people out of harm's way.

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