Come see the future ...

Posted: Friday, January 07, 2011

Few things are more vital to our lives here on the Kenai Peninsula than a strong economy. That's why it's important to pay attention to next week's second annual Industrial Outlook Forum: "2011 and Beyond."

The Kenai Peninsula chapter of The Alliance and the Kenai Peninsula Economic Development District co-sponsor the two-day presentation next Thursday and Friday that will give us a glimpse into our economic future. Business and government leaders at the local, state and national level will share their views on the current state of the economy, as well as their best guesses for what's in store.

We already have a few reasons to be cautiously optimistic. A handful of local businesses are growing. Potential for new oil and gas exploration in Cook Inlet is more promising than ever. Homer Electric Association is surging ahead with its plans to create our own power on the Peninsula.

But what else might be in store for us here on the Peninsula?

The forum's agenda is impressive in its scope and depth. Certainly we want to hear our local government leaders from across the region share their perspectives. Just as important, though, will be the perspectives from folks like state Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Dan Sullivan and Larry Persily, federal coordinator of the Alaska Natural Gas Transportation Projects office.

Leaders from the oil and gas and mining industries obviously will be on hand; but also leaders from the organizations that watchdog them. That's only fair, since the actions of entities like the National Marine Fisheries Service and the Cook Inlet Regional Citizens Advisory Council impact the economy just as significantly.

In other words, just about every entity that potentially has an effect on our economic well-being has a place in this event.

That's why it's important to be paying attention to what goes on at the Challenger Learning Center in Kenai next Thursday and Friday.

You can attend for free, but space is limited. So, if you want to be there, call 283-3335, ext. 2, to register. A full agenda also will appear in Monday's Clarion.

In short: The "2011 and Beyond" forum will be the most comprehensive economic outlook on the Peninsula this year. Be there.

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