It's not what we usually think of as economic development, but the attempt to get Washington County's business community to rally behind a major movie-making venture here makes sense, because in exchange for a relatively small sum of money, the community stands to gain a great deal.
The movie would be called "Gods and Generals" and would be what the Hollywood types called a "prequel." Based on Jeff Shaara's book, it would follow the lives of several key historical figures in the years preceding the Battle of Gettsyburg.
Why should citizens care about whether a movie gets made here? According to Ron Maxwell, the film's director, movie makers will spend $600,000 a week in Washington County for the 20 or more weeks in which the movie will be filmed. As part of the process, the film crew will build a set which will be preserved after filming is over, possibly as a Williamsburg-type tourist attraction. Other possibilities include development of an indoor sound stage and a film school to teach young film-makers how to do historical movies.