Positive economic signs locally

1. Regional drawing power getting stronger and stronger

In the midst of a wobbly economy, our city is doing better than most.

There are clearly signs that the once-hibernating housing construction sector is making a comeback. That’s fueled by low interest rates, an improving climate for construction development loans, high rents and lower land prices. Plus, Morgan Hill’s a great place to live and raise a family.

There are other positive signs around, too. Another RV dealership is putting down roots; the Ford Store dealership continues to do well; giant retailer Hobby Lobby has picked Morgan Hill to set up shop; and to put a little fun icing on the positive cake, Five Guys Burgers is opening soon.

2. Restaurants downtown are flourishing, but not retail yet

Surely there are still signs of struggle. There are many empty storefronts downtown. The retail goods stores have not caught up with the solid cadre of good places to eat, whether it’s upscale Ladera Grill, the outdoor patio at Huntington Station or the homey goodness of Sicilia in Bocca. It makes us wonder if there’s a way to duplicate the restaurant success in the retail goods area. How did downtown attract so many good restaurants? It’s certainly the case that a few good restaurants breed a culture which attracts more, so perhaps there’s a “champion” retailer out there that the city should seek out. After all, if so many good restaurants are supported, certainly a good mix of shops should be able to flourish. The customer base is there.

3. Focus on the positives and remind people to spend here

It’s clear that the city’s regional dollar drawing power is becoming stronger and stronger. That will only be bolstered as John Fry completes his mathematics castle to complement his challenging golf course in the east foothills and, eventually, moves his Frys.com Open PGA golf tournament to the site.

Even as the national and regional economies sputter, there are positive local signs. It’s a good time to build on those positives, keep reminding people to spend their hard-earned money close to home and for the city’s economic leaders to prepare for the future by doing their level best to shore up the areas that are weak.

Building a thriving local economic base is the cornerstone to a better Morgan Hill. And in that regard, things are looking up.

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