While the economies of cities such as Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, Bloomington, Lafayette and Muncie slowed in 2013, Anderson and nearby Kokomo had different and promising experiences.
According to a study by IHS Global Insight and released through the U.S. Conference of Mayors, Anderson and Kokomo are the only two cities in Indiana to experience accelerated economic growth in the last calendar year.
Anderson’s growth is 2 percent higher compared to a 1.6 percent growth rate in 2012. Kokomo saw slightly better improvement over the same period at 2.2 percent higher compared to 1.6.
Studies like the one done by IHS can arrive at different findings depending on what factors are being measured. But this is indeed a positive sign for Anderson and a good indication that the city is shaking off the shackles of its automotive past.
Just as remnants of that past are disappearing from the city’s landscape, so too should the idea that Anderson is defined by the automotive industry. Too long has that nasty divorce haunted the city. It must be what we were, but not what we are or what we will be. Not if we wish to survive and thrive.
The community must continue to diversify its economic growth and pursue new investments in the city’s future. All ideas should be welcome at the table, where they can be discussed and thoroughly vetted before money, manpower and other resources are committed to the cause.
The proposed reservoir certainly qualifies as a new and outside-the-box idea. But more will be needed to keep the city’s economic growth, projected for now to continue, on the right path. Why couldn’t the city, for example, become the next go-to locale for Hollywood films? Or expand its niche, as director of economic development Greg Winkler calls it, in the food and beverage industry? Or become the next great center of growth for alternative energy solutions, an area where we already have traction?
What’s good for the city is good for its residents. That’s reflected in the employment rate being down locally year-over-year. And it should encourage us all to be part of the process as enablers of growth and prosperity.
In Summary Findings that Anderson's economy is growing are a good sign, but new and diverse ideas are needed to keep the city on the right path.