We believe that 2018 could be a good year
2017 has been an active year for the Sussex Economic Development Action Committee, known as SEDAC. We began a campaign to re-examine our role in economic development in Sussex County. Part of that re-examination was our attempt to inform the people of Sussex County what SEDAC actually does to promote economic development.
Toward that end we offered three opinion editorials dealing with the availability of our members to assist the county, municipalities and private entrepreneurs in their efforts to bring jobs to Sussex County, the need for our educational system to redirect its programs to provide job training for those who do not wish to attend college, wages that are in line with those in other areas of our state and county, the need for affordable housing in all areas of Sussex County, and the need for government regulations to be reviewed for effectiveness and necessity.
We visited with Sheldon Hudson, town manager of Millsboro, to hear the good things going on there and to offer our assistance with mayor and council's efforts to grow Millsboro.
We have involved ourselves in a number of issues that bring jobs and positive economic growth to Sussex County. We supported the efforts of the Overbrook Town Center to provide a new and exciting retail experience in Sussex County.
We have supported the state's efforts to bring oyster farming to Sussex County. We have supported the efforts of the University of Delaware to bring more jobs through renewable energy programs to the first county. We stood up as a group and as individuals when the state attempted to cut tourism dollars to the second largest economic development engine in our great county. We continue to work with Punkin Chunkin to strive to save this Sussex County tradition. We heard from Horsey Construction about the difficulty of finding qualified truck drivers for its business as well as other companies with the same needs and we put Horsey together with Delaware Tech where an outstanding program is available and where the actual need of truck driver trainees can be improved.
We have been active in assisting the county in the development of a new Comprehensive Land Use Plan.
We have urged Sussex County Council to reject the snake oil proposal known as Right-to-Work, and instead to focus on the real needs of our county which include appropriate infrastructure, a well-trained work force, excellent schools, widely available broadband, regulations that are clear, consistent and timely, affordable housing available throughout the county and sites that are ready for development. To their credit, the county has begun to work on those issues.
We believe that 2018 could be a good year. We will meet with the superintendents of the Sussex County school districts in an attempt to support their present job training efforts. We will continue to encourage job growth throughout Sussex County with a special interest in western Sussex.
We will continue to monitor the development of the new Comprehensive Land Use Plan to assure that it supports the job growth we so vitally need if we are to retain our young people and give them the same opportunities that exist in Delaware and elsewhere in this country. The land-use plan cannot be an obstacle to growth, but a supportive tool to enhance appropriate job opportunities.
Since 1735, when the first Conaway, Patience, settled here, we in Sussex County have been patient, but now it is time for a change and Sussex County must be supported and assisted as we grow toward an even brighter future.
To learn more about SEDAC, please visit our website at www.sedac-de.org.
Joe Conaway is chairperson of the Sussex Economic Development Action Committee.