Report cards affect business
County Administrator Leonard B. Sossamon claims to have big plans to lure new businesses and jobs to Hernando County.
Over half of the Hernando County Schools received a grade ranking of C or below and one school received an F. Some schools would have received an even lower grade if there were not a state mandate in existence that they could only drop one grade per year. A huge challenge facing Sossamon is the quality or lack thereof within the local education system. One of the things, if not the first thing, that a company looks at when considering location is the quality of its school system.
What does Hernando County have to offer to prospective businesses who have a real need to lure quality employees many of whom would likely have children attending these schools?
Sossamon touts his development of Concord Mills, which opened 14 years ago, one year after he left his position in Concord, N.C. This mall was built one mile from Charlotte Motor Speedway in the flight path of Charlotte Douglas International Airport.
How much promoting was done by him in this development? I have visited family numerous times over the years in Charlotte and I am aware that the main draw of this mall is Bass Pro Shops, which is a key sponsor of NASCAR. The Charlotte Motor Speedway was in existence long before Sossamon arrived on the scene and long before Concord Mills was considered for development.
So what does Sossamon really plan to do for Hernando County? And how can his development efforts regarding Concord Mills have any relevance for Hernando County? I will sit back and watch.
Susan Ayers, Brooksville
Open lines of communication
Recently, County Administrator Len Sossamon spoke in terms of hopes and expectations, but not much of concrete ideas. He said he was optimistic with possible new trends, spurts of economic recovery, planned shopping centers and expected new offices at the airport. He also referred to concepts like rebranding the airport, and surprisingly, even rebranding the entire county. Plus, he wants something that provides immediate recognition of the county without explaining what that might be. Mr. Sossamon has apparently already decided on his own that the county will focus on the development of high-tech and manufacturing companies.
More disturbing is Sossamon's plans to open more lines of communication with the county's business community and the Greater Hernando County Chamber of Commerce. Plus, he wants to form a committee of nine or 10 business leaders to brainstorm about new approaches.
Why is the county administrator putting all of his focus on company owners and business leaders for answers to the county's development? What about the community and its citizenry at large? What about asking or surveying citizens as to what kind of county they want, what are their needs and what are the ingredients to improving the quality of life of its present 176,000 residents? Does it have to be business development? Does it have to be based on growth?
Maybe Mr. Sossamon and the county commissioners should do a lot more listening and surveying, and include nonbusiness citizens whose priorities for the county may differ substantially from the political and for-profit business leaders.
Brian P. Moore, Spring Hill