The definition of infrastructure follows:
Infrastructure refers to the fundamental facilities and systems serving a country, city, or area, including the services and facilities necessary for its economy to function. It typically characterizes technical structures such as roads, bridges, tunnels, water supply, sewers, electrical grids, telecommunications, and so forth, and can be defined as "the physical components of interrelated systems providing commodities and services essential to enable, sustain, or enhance societal living conditions."
Hickman County does not have adequate infrastructure because it is expensive to install. Local legislators are reluctant to raise the taxes necessary to pay for new sewers, water lines, and fiber for broadband Internet. Government grants and loans come infrequently. Anticipating needs is difficult. Largely ineffective Industrial Board operations, turnovers, and conflict have left Hickman County with little available land for industrial and business sites. In the age when businesses expect to locate and be in operations within a few months, Hickman County lacks the ability to move quickly to recruit many businesses.
The most frequent way of boosting job growth is through the expansion of existing businesses, not just recruiting new businesses. This is often referred to as Business Retention and Expansion (BRE).
Business Retention & Expansion programs (BRE) help to build a positive business environment for the success of local businesses, and ultimately the success of the community. This is accomplished by taking the pulse of the businesses in the community, determining if there are any problems or issues, and then taking positive action to improve the health of individual businesses and the overall business climate of the community (from the Columbia Basin Rural Development Institute).
Most of the manufacturing jobs that sustained the previous generation of Hickman County residents are gone, and they are not coming back. A very high proportion of workers commute to surrounding counties in long, daily commutes. Most of the “best and brightest” high school graduates emigrate to locations with better opportunities—see the strategies for workforce development. The county lacks sufficient infrastructure to attract business—see the strategies for infrastructure. The county has not done a good job of promoting its opportunities and great features—see the strategies for marketing. The Bon Aqua / Lyles communities are dominated by small, local businesses in ad hoc strip development. There is an unhealthy intra-county rivalry between Centerville and “East Hickman” signaling a lack of leadership and cooperation for mutual benefits.