Economic development has been a front of the mind issues in Rome since a joint task force of local leaders started meeting almost two years ago to see if changes were needed to the way Rome goes about bringing new jobs to the community.
The outcome of that group's work was a change from Chamber of Commerce leadership of the effort to the hiring of a new lead person, Melissa "Missy" Kendrick, who was named President of the Rome Floyd Development Authority.
Lost in last week's announcement by Ball Packaging that it would build a new 250,000 square foot manufacturing facility in Shannon were the details that this project had been nearly two years in the making.
Floyd County Manager Jamie McCord said the negotiations were challenging at times and he made a point of saying that the deal took place amidst the pain of the change in the way the whole recruiting process was done.
We point this out because it illustrates that in spite of some of the pains of change, local leadership stayed the course to make the deal happen. Rome didn't get the new plant simply because we had the old one. Rome and Floyd County bested competition from communities in Indiana and Ohio which we assume wanted those 145 new jobs just as badly as Rome did.
Also lost somewhat in the hoorah is the fact that the project in Shannon once again illustrates Ball's commitment to being good stewards of the environment. The company has long been a leader locally in terms of recycling and has run a scholarship program for local high school students to encourage recycling.
The new aluminum cups that will be made in Rome have the potential to be a game changer at picnics and ballparks all over America. Instead of those plastic cups we've sipped from for decades, we will now have super lightweight aluminum cups that we can wash and re-use or simply recycle with our other metal projects.
That's a classic definition of a win-win deal that was done in Rome.