In the Firestone Park neighborhood, Bridgestone Americas celebrated the opening of its new technical center last week. Not too far away, in the center of the city, the University Park Alliance marked its first major building project, Child Guidance and Family Solutions occupying one half of a former Fred Martin car dealership property, the remainder designated for a medical, educational and retail building, eventually, the hope is, becoming part of a biomedical corridor.
All of this activity reinforces what matters in an aging industrial town successfully navigating a difficult economic transition.
The Bridgestone Technical Center represents, in part, foreign investment, a city engaged in the global economy. It also reflects the need for talent, a collection of scientists, engineers and other bright people deploying their creativity and solving problems — in a word, innovating.
More, they are part of a community of knowledge, drawing on the expertise of universities, alert to a nearby competitor, Goodyear progressing with an update of its own facilities, inviting new energy to the east side of the city.
And here is where the University Park Alliance supplies its indispensable component — a sense of place, adding to the identity of the city, an area that attracts talent and generates buzz. To be sure, the alliance has just begun its work, the task not to be underestimated. Yet these are the required combinations if the city and surroundings are going to enhance the quality of life.