North Country
5:00 pm
Wed July 25, 2012

A Picture of Coos That Took Two Years To Develop

A new, two-year study of Coos County finds that the community is strong on cooperation, but struggles with the best strategy to create jobs.

NHPR’s Chris Jensen has more on the study done by the Carsey Institute

In 2009 UNH sociologist Michele Dillon began composing a picture of Coos County.

It would be a mosaic based in large part on about four dozen interviews with community leaders.

Now Dillon and UNH’s Carsey Institute have unveiled that picture in the form of a 46-page study.

“It is very much taking a snapshot of what is happening in Coos and how various people there see themselves and how they see what is happening there.”

Dillon says the overwhelming good news is a relentless commitment to helping each other and the county.

“Well, I think, you know, the most obvious positive thing which you have to celebrate and which always blows me away is the level of commitment of the people in Coos to Coos.”

But it should come as no surprise to anyone that Coos’ biggest problem is an economic one.

“Jobs, jobs, jobs, I mean that is really the big challenge.”

Dillon also discovered a feeling among some that the county has too many economic development groups trying to deal with the problem of jobs.

“Often times they end up working at cross purposes and certainly there is a case to be made that if we had fewer economic development groups that there might be a little more rationalization of what our agendas are, what mission, what can be accomplished and less dilution of resources.”

There is also debate and friction about how to develop the economy in Coos – including whether the future should be based on tourism.

 “It is a real concern that tourist-based jobs are service jobs, of course they are often seasonal and they are not as high-paying clearly and don’t have the same security as manufacturing jobs of old had.”

Dillon’s report also notes some concern about “the depth or quality of some of the leadership” of Coos.”

But she says overall people are optimistic that things will work out in a region that they love.

For NHPR News this is Chris Jensen