For over a century, Keene has been a community mainly based on local manufacturing and agriculture. While the economic balance has changed dramatically from the community’s early days, residents understand what it takes to create and operate local businesses and respect the land and resources that help them to be successful entrepreneurs. Recognizing that the definition of industry is evolving, Keene is in a position to leverage local business knowledge and use it as a competitive advantage in a new sector of the American economy.
Keene should encourage and recruit industries that are in line with building up local manufacturing and industrial economy. For example, the community should actively recruit food processing and packaging facilities that meet the needs of regional food producers and focus attention on attracting new industry and jobs in various sectors such as energy efficiency, renewable energy and sustainable product manufacturing, precision manufacturing and engineering, health care and biotechnology, and software engineering.
In addition, it should be noted that Keene has an established development goal of balancing a majority of the tax base among industrial, commercial and residential uses. By aiming to balance the tax base in this manner, Keene can preserve the community's economic stability through the resulting diversity of land uses, which in turn builds resiliency within the community. This means that Keene can capture opportunities during times of economic prosperity and is less vulnerable during periods of economic hardship.
This approach also provides a basis for communication to potential investors by encouraging development in a way that results in appropriate growth and continued renewal, and preventing economic stagnation arising from the concentration of limited types of land use. As the tax base is balanced, Keene can continue to support various types of businesses and employment opportunities as well as provide various housing types, particularly workforce housing, within the community. The overall effect within the community, and thus the Monadnock Region, is a healthy mixture and balance of land uses that in turn provide economic stability, reduces sprawl and inefficient use of land, and increases community resiliency. Efforts to achieve this goal should be continued as Keene moves forward towards its vision for the future.