OUR VIEW: Detroit News story missed the mark

By Daily News • Last Updated 11:07 am on Thursday, April 26, 2012

We’re not often quick to criticize one of our own, but we’re disappointed in a recent Detroit News article published about Greenville’s attempt to once again become a “manufacturing hub”.

The reporter’s angle was that Greenville is struggling to stage a comeback to what it was like a decade ago when Electrolux was in full swing; and that today we’re riding on the success of big box stores like Wal-Mart and Meijer.

The thing is, we’re not sure Greenville’s goal really is to earn that designation as a manufacturing hub again and we wonder where the reporter got their information. Attract all kinds of new businesses that feed the economy, create jobs and draw positive attention — sure. But we don’t think the focus is as narrow as the Detroit News reporter implied. And it’s obvious the tone of this piece was set before talking to anyone in Greenville — a no, no in this business. Which brings us to the point of who was and was not contacted.

For a story about the economic state of affairs of a town, one would think it key to talk to, say, the local Chamber of Commerce whose job it is to constantly take the pulse of the business community. Or, say, officials who run the city and whose job it is to work with existing businesses and attract new ones as well.

We’re not so naïve as to think that Greenville, specifically, and Montcalm County, on a broader scale, haven’t suffered their share of blows. Of course we wish United Solar Ovonic was thriving and not in bankruptcy. And we would love to go back and see a different outcome with Electrolux. We also realize that many folks are struggling and life for them is far from rosy.

But we also think it should have been pointed out in the Detroit News that, like many small towns across America, our “small West Michigan city” is working to reinvent itself. Our Fred Meijer trails is attracting increased traffic from elsewhere. We’ve got a top-notch community college turning out well-educated, trained graduates. And our hospital continues to grow and offer health care careers.

So yes, we may never again be known as a manufacturing hub. But just as people change directions and evolve throughout their lives, so too do small towns like Greenville.

Editorial opinions are the consensus of The Daily News editorial board.

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