Hunter or hunted?Written by Tom Pounds | President / Publisher | email@example.com
Toledo Mayor Carty Finkbeiner is engaged in a tug of war for Toledo-based FedEx Ground, which is reportedly considering a new home that could be in Southeast Michigan or Wood County. At a recent press conference, the mayor accused Wood County of economic “poaching.”
“Wood County officials are coming after another major Toledo employer,” Finkbeiner said. “Toledo has everything this employer needs to remain economically strong and eventually expand, but Wood County continues to pursue them.”
Tom Blaha of Wood County said his group has not poached, but of course pursues any businesses that approach them.
“The United States, the last I checked, was a free-market economy, and people are free to put their sites wherever they want,” Blaha told The Blade.
He’s right, of course, but it’s easy to see how the possibility of losing FedEx Ground, as Owens-Illinois was lost, would greatly upset the mayor (this is a good spot to point out that Toledo did not “lose” Bass Pro to Wood County, as the company reportedly was not seriously considering Toledo, though that’s a detail that doesn’t console Finkbeiner).
It seems that if Toledo lands a major company, it benefits the entire region, but if a major company chooses the region, it’s not necessarily a boon for Toledo, according to mayoral logic. All’s fair in love and war, and the fight for business is a battle; Lucas County is going to have to realize that Wood County is a legitimate contender, not a collection of farmland. Between Maumee, Sylvania, Perrysburg, Rossford and Bowling Green, Toledo is in for the fight of its life.
Let’s hope the emotional rush of this tug of war lights a long-term fire that leads to a full-time economic development director and an urgency to grow the region while scrapping for every job and dollar Toledo deserves. Companies are not going to stay in Toledo out of any sense of social obligation; we’re going to have to earn their business.
Thomas F. Pounds is president and publisher of Toledo Free Press. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.