There is an old saying that goes something like this - "It takes a village to raise a child!"
I'd like to tweak that just a little and proclaim that it takes villages, townships, cities, a county and a vast array of dedicated people to rebuild and grow an area.
There are many individuals and organizations working extremely hard to build a better future for Steubenville and Jefferson County. Progress Alliance is proud to be among that number and work closely with others to effect positive changes.
Collaboration, in my opinion, is at an all-time high in our county. Political entities, community organizations and civic leaders all have realized the power that comes from working together.
Many, many partnerships have been formed and these partnerships are growing stronger with each passing day.
Our area is blessed with a large number of assets. We have outstanding health care, quality education, an extremely affordable cost of living, the three R's (rail, river and roads), available real estate, a quality labor force and a desirable location (offering cost effective access to the most profitable markets in the U.S.)
As the economic development organization serving Jefferson County, Progress Alliance uses those assets when marketing our area as a great place to live, work and play. Thus, it is vitally important to our efforts that our assets be maintained and improved when possible.
That concept was one of many that prompted the Progress Alliance Partners to publicly endorse the city of Steubenville's levies set to go before voters on Aug. 2.
Issue 1, a 0.3 percent earning tax renewal which will be listed on the ballot as a new levy, initially was approved by city voters in 1981. It specifies that the funds generated be used to pay salaries for safety forces and street maintenance.
Issue 2, the 0.7 percent earning tax renewal, earned voter approval for the first time in 1986. It specifies that $500,000 be used for street improvements, $300,000 for capital improvements and $100,000 for parks and recreation improvements.
All the services funded fit under the "quality of life" heading. It is important to remember that these are not new taxes. The issues simply allow for the continuation of these taxes.
Progress Alliance realizes how important safety forces, street maintenance, street improvements, capital improvements and parks and recreation improvements are when it comes to the live and play components of its marketing efforts.
They tie directly to asset- based economic development. Potential businesses looking to move here ask about the quality of life.
They want information regarding our assets and how we are working to maintain them.
The process of rebuilding an area often can be slow moving and sometimes painful. There are many hurdles to clear and roadblocks to dodge. There is, however, plenty of progress being made. You have those villages, those townships, those cities, the county and all those individuals and organizations working hard to make things happen.
The citizens of Steubenville can join the process on Aug. 2 by voting in favor of the levies. If we are going to grow through the use of our assets, we must be willing to preserve what we have.
(Looman, a resident of Steubenville, is executive director of Progress Alliance.)