Taking care of what you have is a good economic development strategy

History and opportunity came calling when the Preservation Leadership Training program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation held its annual gathering in Astoria during the week of June 7. This prestigious group was drawn to Astoria by the town's track record of nurturing its history.

As reported by Tom Bennett, the training group was given two projects. One involved a net shed in the Columbia River, the other was a waterfront building that seeks a new use.

The future belongs to communities that welcome and sustain educational and research opportunities. The future also will reward communities that conserve their singularity. Preservation Leadership Training is about both of those factors. It recognizes that there is a distinction between development and smart development, which respects a community's heritage. The latter is often a smarter long-term economic choice.

During the same week that leadership trainees were here, a vice president of the National Trust visited Portland to discuss the national conference of September 2005. That annual event is a gathering of more than 2,000 people from across the nation.

During the Portland discussions, it was announced that the conference will include a field trip to Astoria. This will be a great opportunity to showcase Astoria's rich architectural heritage and our entrepreneurship for a national audience.

The best strategy in economic development is taking care of what you have. A large audience will see that when The Ring II is released. And many highly attuned visitors will see it again in September 2005.

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