The Laurel Highlands is Part of the Flat World
The challenges of marketing southwestern Pennsylvania as a region were underscored by a story earlier this week in the Boston Business Times about the company's decision. The article made it sound like Uniontown is a hopeless Appalachian backwater, rather than part of the Pittsburgh metro area, referring to Uniontown as an "outpost," "coal country," and "a remote site". The author suggested that the company should have taken a lesson from George Washington's experience at Ft. Necessity in Fayette County 250 years earlier, saying "...Washington stuck around long enough to see how isolated the spot was, and ... beat a hasty retreat back East." The author goes on to say that "[Uniontown] is going to be a tough sell to engineers with their entire lives before them. Once you've checked out Waldo the white tiger at the zoo, caught Bob Newhart at the local theater, and toured a few Frank Lloyd Wright buildings, you are pretty much left with trips to the local golf resort and state park...In other words, better make sure there is enough on that hiring bonus for a satellite dish."
Maybe Boston is not only misinformed about the proximity of Uniontown to Pittsburgh (it's closer to Pittsburgh than Cape Cod is to Boston, for example), but also a little (or a lot?) jealous of a region that offers equivalent urban amenities and housing at less than 30% of the cost in Boston (where housing prices are forcing talent to leave).