Benson Poised For Growth

by Chamber Admin on June 26th, 2013

Ákos Kovach, Economic Development Planner for the SouthEastern Arizona Governments Organization is a strong believer in Benson. Specifically he believes that Benson is poised for growth. To find out why he believes this, the Benson San Pedro Valley Chamber of Commerce asked him to come and share his vision at their June monthly breakfast on June 20 at The Benson City Grille.

With 28 persons in attendance, Kovach first explained that he believes in Benson and that Benson is poised for growth because we have many existing resources. A resource, Kovach explained, is “somebody or something that is a source of help or information.”

Benson’s existing resources, according to Kovach, include:
  • The Visitor Center,
  • City Hall,
  • Chamber of Commerce,
  • Available private land,
  • Available State land,
  • Commercial property for sale,
And, the infrastructure to sustain growth.At this point Kovach asked the audience their thoughts on what Benson’s existing assets and infrastructure are. Chamber President Lupe Diaz mentioned Benson’s location in conjunction with I-10 and our property price point. George Scott, Executive Director of the Southeast Arizona Economic Development Group, feels that our ability to put deals together quickly to be a major asset.

Bob Nilson of the Visitor Center listed off the railroad, Gamon’s Gulch, Singing Winds Bookstore, our local history, and our strategic location that necessitates that visitors to Tombstone must pass through Benson. Dan Barrera of the Quarter Horse Motel emphasized our hospital, EMS services, medical system, and nursing home as key advantages to relocating a business to Benson.

City Councilman Ron Brooks gave a comprehensive response of land, location, and our recent $11 Million in upgrades to our local airport, while also agreeing with the others as to the importance of our railroad and our connection to I-10.

Greg Hall from Apache Nitrogen Products, Inc., focused on our available workforce with an emphasis of having a fresh group of high school graduates looking for work. Ron Curtis from American Southwest Credit Union mentioned the parking and clear air space at our airport, as well as the benefit of the Cochise College Benson Center.

Summing it up, Kovach agreed that our education system, including both K-12 and Cochise College; our workforce, including that we are an easy commute from Tucson or Sierra Vista; tourism; and our position as a transportation hub, including the airport, Amtrak, and railroad all position Benson for growth.

In speaking of the railroad, Kovach reminded us while we have a rail yard and the Union Pacific, next we need to attract an investor who will fill the need to transfer goods from rail to trucks or from truck to rail to round out our position as a transportation hub.

Kovach let the attendees know that Benson has what Sierra Vista wishes they had: I-10 and a clear airspace over our airport. The key, he said, is finding ways to promote what we have.
In closing Kovach encouraged the attendees to start a promotion in the community to help brand Benson. He even mentioned that with our small business growth – the incubator on Fourth Street and shops opening up; the airport opportunity for air shows, balloon festivals, fly-ins; the intermodal opportunity; increased Amtrak – tourism business; available shovel-ready property; cost-effectiveness; and logical regional transportation hub – distribution point, Benson can have its own FTZ sub-zone. But we must, he emphasized, promote, have a business plan, and a budget plan that fits the goals.

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