A report last week revealed the city of Enid has spent nearly $4 million in its protection efforts for Vance Air Force Base before the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure process. When you look at the $200 million-plus impact the base has on Enid and northwest Oklahoma each year, that $4 million is a pretty sound investment.

Yet, there always are going to be those who complain the city spends too much time and effort on Vance, that it neglects other areas of the city, etc. Those folks are just plain wrong.

First of all, Vance Air Force Base can't help but be a major player in a town and an area that has a retail base of about 55,000. It's not a fool's mission to concentrate on working to keep the base vital and to support enhancement of missions there. Vance is a major employer in town, both for military and the private sector.

Second, the city has not neglected other economic development opportunities. City and business leaders have realized Enid must diversify, and much has been done over the last 10 years to improve medical facilities and other industries, such as Advance Food Co. and Mid-America Wholesale, plus others. Now, city, business and agriculture leaders are focusing on taking advantage of opportunities to improve agriculture. The announcement last Friday Enid will be the location of the state's first major ethanol plant is a great boost in the arm.

Success begets success. That $4 million investment in Vance and the good news the base will remain open and gain missions means businesses and entrepreneurs feel more positive about investing in the community. Each successful venture makes other ventures more possible.

We applaud the success of the Vance Development Authority. VDA's focus is a textbook example of how to build and execute an economic development effort. In fact, we'd like to see other economic development efforts in Enid and northwest Oklahoma modeled after VDA.

Think what could be accomplished if Enid could take the VDA model and make Enid the economic development leader in northwest Oklahoma. The opportunities could be endless.



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