If you want to understand why the Plains are coming back, visit 84-year-old Cy Keller. Cy’s latest invention is a lot like his other ones. It’s all about solving an everyday problem.
If you are a fan of construction equipment (and what man isn’t) you’re familiar with Cy’s most famous solution to an everyday problem: the Bobcat.
[Joel] Kotkin [of the New America Foundation] says the stars are aligning for about a dozen Plains cities. Unemployment in these places is negligible. Wage gains are outpacing most of America. And they boast well-educated populations, growing tech and energy sectors, plus lots of cooperation between entrepreneurs, government and nearby universities. […]
[Fargo entrepreneur Michael] Chambers says local businesspeople are quick to fund promising start-ups. This nexus of rising businesses and community-wide cooperation has started paying another dividend.
“We get a huge stack of resumes every month from people that want to come home.”
The reenergizing cities of the Plains can now provide good work to both ends of a two-career couple. Then there’s another attraction. You can get a great house here for under $200,000.
But even with all the good news the Plains states are still an economic work-in-progress. Joel Kotkin says the whole region needs an infrastructure upgrade. It needs electric and telecommunications lines, irrigation systems, and better air service. He says the new Great Plains won’t look like the old Plains.
“It’s going to be something where there’s going to be fewer but more vibrant centers.
And those centers could easily be one of the more promising outlets for America’s future growth. This is another option for America in the 21st century, another strength that we can play on, something that we have forgotten. We haven’t looked at this huge part of the country that is essentially underdeveloped, and that has enormous potential that we haven’t even begun to tap.”
This horse isn’t dead yet and I haven’t yet begun to start beating.