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EDITORIAL: Tough times mark need for development plan

On Monday, Powell was dealt one of its harshest economic blows of the recession. Weatherford International, a company with established roots in the community, announced it was closing its Powell manufacturing facility by October — ultimately affecting about 40 employees.

For dozens of families in Powell, the recession suddenly became very personal.

This loss isn't limited to Weatherford employees. The closure of the manufacturing facility — and reduction of higher-paying jobs in the area — will impact local trucking companies, lumberyards, supply stores and other businesses.

Adding to dreary economic conditions, some sugar beet growers still reeling from last year's devastating loss recently began replanting a portion of this year's crop after inclement weather struck local fields. Though not as crippling as last October's frost at harvest time, the unwelcome cold snap was a discouraging way to start the new season.

Amidst recent downturns, local leaders are hoping to rejuvenate Powell's economy with a restructured development plan.

A study conducted by National Community Development Services recommending restructuring of the Powell Valley Economic Development Alliance was presented to leaders this week.

One of the recommendations was that the local group pursue a regional alliance by approaching Forward Cody, our neighboring city's economic development organization. But first, a reorganized board for the Powell Valley Economic Development Alliance must be formed. Paul Prestwich has accepted the role of sparking that reorganization.

We hope business and community leaders, as well as others in Powell, respond to this initiative and join together to develop a strong economic development plan.

Though it's difficult to see Powell's economy take hits, it is encouraging that an economic development effort is in the works. A strong plan could position Powell for a brighter economic future.

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