TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - Former Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels thinks Terre Haute has potential to grow.
He made that comment over the summer while speaking at the Chamber of Commerce dinner.
Many members of the community echo that sentiment.
Daniels points out the community doesn't seem to be working together.
Terre Haute is Indiana's slowest growing metro area.
The population has been relatively stagnant for seven years.
Inside Indiana Business host Gerry Dick says the city has potential.
"Just think about the academic institutions in Terre Haute. How many communities would die to have Indiana State, Rose Hulman, Saint Mary's, an Ivy Tech campus. You have all of this academic firepower, a pipeline of talent. But are you leveraging that to the hilt?" Dick says.
Daniels points to Rose-Hulman Ventures as the type of business incubators cities should embrace.
"You want to foster the Clabber Girl's of tomorrow, you want to try and be a place in every way you can..that's friendly to small businesses, the kind that grows up and becomes big, and employ a lot of people," Daniels said.
Both men agree on the strengths of Terre Haute.
They also agreed the city stands in its own way.
Gerry Dick's Inside Indiana Business covers business news in all major Hoosier cities.
"I think the cities, the towns that are successful, they have a strategy, they have a plan, and they have business, political, academic leaders in the community leading the charge. There doesn't seem to be that vision, that plan, that forward-looking vision if you will, in Terre Haute," Dick said.
Dick is a Clinton, Indiana native. He says he wants nothing more than to see the Wabash Valley grow.
Former Governor Daniels echoed those sentiments, saying he enjoyed his 50 plus visits to the city he made as governor.
"It reminds me a bit of Indiana, 10 to 12 years ago. The first thing to do was inventory some of our strengths. Second thing was to take down barriers to growth, try to build the most pro-jobs climate that you could. Next to do is lose the inferiority complex and recognize we can compete with anybody, and by the way, we can grow our own economy as we do," Daniels said.