Lee County Commissioner Frank Mann Sr.
Nothing! Nothing! Nothing in the history of Lee County itself, which was established in 1887, compares with the economic significance of the announcement of the Hertz headquarters relocation here.
In second place would have to be the building of the regional airport, which over time continues to be a catalyst for much economic stimulation.
But of all the annual banquets, or all the ribbon cuttings and groundbreakings, and all the speeches at all those events, truly nothing compares with what happened in Lee County on Tuesday. And the timing could not possibly have been better. For a county, indeed region, still suffering from the effects of the worst recession in our memory, Hertz’s arrival came like the 7th Cavalry to troops clearly in desperate straits.
• Permanent jobs by the hundreds.
• Immediate construction jobs by the hundreds.
• And tax revenues by the million, which within five short years will replenish the relatively small investment of taxpayer dollars that were used to help entice Hertz to come.
And those new tax dollars will be the gift that keeps on giving for the foreseeable future.
All of this contributes mightily to economic diversification so badly needed, as proven by the recession’s horrible effect on the construction industry, one of the main economic engines for the county.
Lee County is already experiencing healthy signs of recovery, but this kick start will be like a rocket lift at Cape Canaveral.
The county has received some appropriate criticism for previous handling of our economic development program, and there’s plenty of blame to go around.
But this is a day of legitimate back patting, and there are many people, from Tallahassee on down, who deserve enormous thanks for a job truly well done. To single out anyone or two for credit would deny mentioning so many others equally well deserving.
As a lifelong resident, I want them all to know how proud they have made me to call Lee County home.
Frank Mann is commissioner, Lee County Board of County Commissioners, District 5.