We spend a lot of time bragging about construction, development, revitalization, etc. in Grimes. Mostly because we think we’re fortunate to be in a vibrant, growing community.
From our perspective, the future is bright, and we’re proud to be involved in the process of improving upon a community that is already pretty great.
However, good development does not come easy. So this article is going to focus on some of the challenges that stand in the way of development and some of the negative aspects of the construction process. (Yes, there are downsides sometimes.)
Grimes is full of intelligent, well-educated individuals. This is a very positive selling point for companies considering moving their operations to town or for companies considering expanding existing facilities in the community. Nevertheless, some companies in Grimes and throughout the region still struggle with getting good, qualified applicants when they have positions available. It is one of the biggest concerns that we hear from local businesses and an item that we as a community will need to address in the coming months and years. This supply/demand issue is also one of the reasons that Iowa currently has one of the lowest overall unemployment rates in the nation at 4.3 percent. (Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics; June 2013.)
Other hurdles to development include the cost and availability of ideal development land. Grimes is in a good position as far as the availability of land. Many active business and industrial parks with prime locations are available to a variety of development types (commercial, industrial, residential). Whether or not the land is affordable varies dramatically based upon your perspective. Typically, sellers think it is priced too low and buyers think it is too high. Capitalism determines what the market will bear at any given time. Some landowners are motivated to sell or develop, while others are in a position to hold and wait for what they hope are better future returns.
Finally, assuming a business or developer wants to do a project in the community, they can find the land or existing building they need at an acceptable price, they have sufficient finances or credit to move a project forward and they have made their way through the many layers of bureaucracy…development can begin to occur. That is really an oversimplification, but space is a commodity in print as well as real estate.
Once ground is broken, to the general public, it often appears to take a long time to see progress. This is likely due to unrealistic expectations and not having a full understanding of everything that has to be done when a new building is going up, an old building is being renovated or expanded, or a major piece of infrastructure (i.e. streets, sewers, water lines, fiber, etc.) is being built or replaced.
Construction improvements are often dirty, inconvenient and expensive. It is during these times that I encourage people to be focused on the end results. For as difficult as the development process is, from beginning to middle, the end is usually worth the wait. For it is at the end that we get to experience new jobs, new roadways, new amenities and, ultimately, a real opportunity for an improved quality of life for many. These are good things that are generally worth enduring temporary hassle for a greater tomorrow.