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Two counties, one joint park: A good model for the region

June 21, 2002

Two counties, one joint park: A good model for the region

In a fine demonstration of inter-governmental cooperation, development authorities in Berkeley and Jefferson counties plan to apply jointly for $6.5 million to create a new industrial park on a site that straddles their boundary lines. These groups' realization that working together makes sense ought to inspire similar efforts in the region.

Neither group's director would identify the exact location of the site, except to say it's just east of Martinsburg, because negotiations for the sale are still ongoing.

Both directors did say that their application isn't coming because they have a big fish of an industry on the line, but because they need additional sites for future prospects.

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If the application to the state Economic Development Grant Committee is successful, the two authorities will market sites and administer the property in a cooperative arrangement.

We like this idea for several reasons. The first is because it's an acknowledgement that progress anywhere in the region benefits everyone. New businesses drawn to the sites are likely to have workers living in either county and to buy goods from suppliers on both sides of the line.

The joint arrangement also gives each authority an added incentive to give the project their best efforts, since neither would want to be seen by the other as slacking off.

But the project's greatest value at this point may be as an example of what might be accomplished if governments with similar interests join forces for the mutual benefit of their respective citizens.

Local governments might even be inspired to work together on Civil War heritage tourism, an idea that's been much discussed but not implemented in any major way. It doesn't matter much whether tourists see the Antietam Battlefield or Harpers Ferry first, as long as they see both while they're in the region.

Thanks to the Berkeley and Jefferson counties' development authorities for showing the region that lines on a map matter less than working together for the good of all.

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