It is indisputable that the vision by Hugh Chisholm had sustained a valued sense of economic freedom for residents of the River Valley during the 20th century. The introduction of the Rumford Light and Water company in 1892 and the Oxford Paper Company in 1901 was leveraged importantly by the presence of the great water falls. Chisholm is recognized for developing the town with his economic vision.

In 2017, Rumford needs to establish new businesses to provide jobs and grow the local property tax base. The challenge is to create a vision to encourage capital equipment intensive industrial businesses to locate in Rumford. A need will exist to lower electric energy costs and ensure the sustainability of the valued water sources.

The town needs to define a new vision to grow its economic freedom in understandable terms. Chisholm fully understood the connections between electric energy availability and the need for good paying jobs to build a prosperous community. A need will also exist to demonstrate a trend to lower property taxes to attract new businesses.

A renewal of the industrial vision for metals manufacturing and a new look at the electrical energy costs with a revised contract with the (natural gas) Rumford Power Company could “kick-start” a new beginning for economic freedom in Rumford.

If a new business opportunity offers no jobs and tiny tax payments, is that economic development?

No new jobs and no new taxable property equals no economic development.

Len Greaney, Rumford Center

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