Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Working Together

One of the surprises I found as I did research on BoomtownUSA was that only eight facilities in the country have been done like the Show Me Center in Cape Girardeau, where a university and a city worked together. I found that too often different entities stay in a “silo-mentality” rather than working together to accomplish much larger projects.

Mayor Levsen of Aberdeen explained to me how three groups came together to build an incredible, state of the art athletic field, “We got together with Northern State University providing the stands and lights at a value of $1 million, the local high school coming up with $1 million in cash and the city providing $200,000/year for a five year period. We felt that Northern’s 10% of our population made it an important economic development force for Aberdeen.”

The field is not only the home field for football and soccer matches on an artificial turf but also hosts three practice fields and a complete track and field complex. To keep the field adequately maintained, a special $1/head tax is set aside for future additions.

“When we started this project we had a group that started a petition to kill it, but they came up 100 signatures short of being able to get it on the ballot. Now it is viewed as a model by many and other towns are looking at doing it also.” Mayor Levsen explained.

Working together, whether it is with other area towns or with other entities is a very positive trademark of progressive towns. Aberdeen, one of my agurbs®, is such a town.

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