The front page of our June 1 newspaper had a pair of positive news stories about economic development.

Above the fold, we published the story “Fundraising campaign launched to improve soccer complex.”

We learned how the association in charge of the west Enid soccer complex project is launching a fundraising campaign, aiming to reach $3 million in donations to fund additional amenities and upgrades to the planned facility. That’s a lofty goal that could do wonders for economic development.

More than $6 million currently is available, $1.5 million each from the generous Allen and McLaughlin families, co-founders of Advance Food Co., and another $3 million from the city of Enid to match their gifts.

Directly underneath, we published the related story “Newly selected ERDA director lays out her plans for Enid.”

New ERDA Director Lisa Powell outlined her goals for continued economic development in our community. Powell is a great leadership choice, and we welcome her in this official capacity.

Paul Allen, the 2014 Pillar of the Plains, has lauded our city’s generosity for giving Advance an opportunity to move into a building on 54th, where the company enjoyed significant success, at minimal expense. So the ERDA’s predecessors paved the way for the foundation of a great corporate citizen.

Flash forward to the soccer complex. The son of Advance Foods founder Paul Allen, Mark Allen, has been closely involved with this new project since its inception.

“This is our way of giving back ... and hopefully allow those parents that worked for us to enjoy these fields, and to give their kids an opportunity to play somewhere really special,” he said.

There’s no name for the complex yet, but whatever it is, there will be some reference to Advance in it to commemorate the company’s many years in Enid. While the Advance name could go away on buildings and trucks, this complex is the legacy the Allen family members want the city to remember them for.

Paul Allen and his wife, Joan, underwrote construction of David Allen Memorial Ballpark, named for their late son.

The ESA board will be modeled after the David Allen Memorial Ballpark Foundation, which is made up of representatives from the city of Enid, Enid Public Schools and the nonprofit foundation.

Current ESA board members are Bob Berry, Pat Donehue, Visit Enid director Marcy Jarrett, Seth Jenkins, Jon McNaught, Claire Neal, Michael Shuck, Mike Steinke and representatives from the city of Enid, Enid Public Schools and Enid Soccer Club.

These partnerships are examples of how Enid is moving forward and working to expand employment opportunities and quality-of-life amenities for our citizens.

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