Can data center clusters transform a rural town into a vibrant tech center? The Los Angeles Times provides an update on life in Quincy, the small farm town in Washington state that has become a case study for the economic development potential of data center projects. An excerpt:
For a town like Quincy, built on potatoes and apples, the arrival of high tech has proved an inspirational and a cautionary tale. With its two stoplights, four banks and almost 6,000 residents - two-thirds of them Latino, many of whom work the fields, orchards, vineyards and packing plants - Quincy seemed an unlikely destination for the likes of Intuit, or Microsoft and Yahoo, which also have built data centers in town. The median income ($35,000) and the median price of a home ($108,000) are far below the state medians. Unemployment is relatively high and education levels relatively low - typical of the divide between Washingtonians east of the Cascade Mountains and those west of them. Still, Quincy has done better than many small towns. Some believe the high-tech utilities - which town officials courted - will further transform it.
The verdict thus far: business is booming for the hardware store, and a new shopping center is coming. But there's no sign of Starbucks yet. "It's like we're still waiting for something," said Aleeta Merred, executive director of the Quincy Valley Chamber of Commerce. "So far, we're not really seeing the growth we expected."