Will Amazon in Wilmington help Highland County?


Randy Butler Contributing columnist

Randy Butler Contributing columnist


When my family and I moved to Leesburg a few years ago, I remember being outside one night and looking straight up into the sky. It was amazing. Now, I can’t remember exactly how many, but I counted somewhere between 25 to 30 planes in the air. All of them were waiting to land at an airpark in Wilmington just 15 or so miles away. It was a spectacular sight to see and this happened most every night.

Recent articles have announced that Amazon will be coming to that same air park. Construction has already started with some 300 to 400 construction workers filtering in to get the park up and running again. I look at these jobs as “setting up the play.” They are getting things ready for the jobs to come. These folks may end up staying or they may move on to the next job in another city or state.

While they are working and probably living in Wilmington, they will be buying gas, renting homes, buying groceries, getting haircuts, going to the movies and so on. Will this help the community, and probably the communities around them? Yes, it will.

These forerunners for the jobs to come are also much needed. There is a group, or at least a certain person, that “sets up the play” for most events. Thinking back on my very first car purchase, I had that person. I was at the Eat N Time in Hillsboro with my Dad. I was between 15 and 16 years old and very intimidated by any adult speaking to me. A car was always on my mind, but I never really thought it could happen. Back in the mid ’70s, kids only talked if an adult talked to them first. Lamar Callahan, a loan officer for Merchants Bank in Hillsboro, looked at me and out of nowhere and said, “Boy, how old are you?”

My response was very brief and full of so much wisdom. “Fifteen,” I said.

He then said, “You need a car? Have your Dad bring you in to see me.”

Holy cow, I thought. I can get my own car? My 1973 Nova with a 350 engine, four-speed, four-barrel carb and 411 gears, could hit 110 mph in the quarter mile (not that I remember much about the car) came just a short time later thanks to Lamar “setting up the play.”

After the initial group is finished, an article stated, there will be some 300 new jobs. Those jobs will include cargo handling, distribution, logistics, package handling, maintenance, and working in the control tower, just to name a few. You can apply for the jobs at Clinton County Job and Family Service in Wilmington.

This is huge. Huge for Wilmington and for the surrounding communities, including Highland County. The 300-person work force number possibly will grow to higher numbers. When new jobs come to an area it brings new families as well — amilies with money to spend. That money will be spent somewhere.

How long does money really stay in anyone’s pocket? I had a very wise man once tell me never to carry money with me. He said I could hire armed guards to keep it there and they wouldn’t be successful. “You will find a way to give it to someone,” he said. This is true for most of us, isn’t it?

In time, Highland County will be affected in a very positive way. New jobs bring new people. New people with money going into the local market — real estate included. Let’s face it, whether they rent or purchase, they will be looking for housing. After all, they all must live somewhere.

They may even have second jobs as well. Maybe they will buy an existing small business or even start up one of their own. The possibilities and opportunities could be endless.

Do you see this an opportunity for us as an adjoining county? Will the money made there find its way here? Will we benefit from Wilmington’s good fortune?

Please share your comments.

Randy Butler is a lifelong resident of Highland County and a licensed real estate agent for Classic Real Estate in Hillsboro.

Randy Butler Contributing columnist
https://www.timesgazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/33/2018/12/web1_Butler-Randy-mug.jpgRandy Butler Contributing columnist