At a forum this week in Cape Girardeau attended by David Sampson, assistant secretary of commerce for economic development, a group of area representatives interested in the economic well-being of Southeast Missouri and beyond talked about the future.
One of the major themes was the need for regional cooperation among cities and counties that don't have the clout on their own but collectively offer a range of benefits that appeal to industrial and technological enterprises.
Another theme was that the future of economic development will rely heavily on research and a knowledge system. This is an area where Southeast Missouri State University already has taken steps to lay a good foundation.
Other ideas brought up at the forum included:
The development of economic megasites much like the Procter & Gamble plant in northern Cape Girardeau County that attracts complementary plants.
Working on a regional basis before the existing economic base falters or collapses.
Using other communities that have been successful with economic development as benchmarks.
It sounds like this area could make good use of the ideas brought up at the forum. It also sounds like many of these ideas are already being pursued.