Sunday, March 08, 2009

More econ development news... in other locations

I'm just going to continue to bring this kind of information here, from time to time, until we here in Kingman start to see these kinds of discussions happening in our media and from our elected officials.

CB 10 meets the challenge

All signs point to economic recession. But Community Board 10 intends to meet that challenge head on. The board voted unanimously to create a brand new economic development committee on Thursday, February 19.

“This new committee is going to be great,” board member Anne Jack said. “A lot of businesses in Westchester Square and on Crosby Avenue need our help.”

Until now, the board has barely addressed business concerns. But a global financial crisis has the district teetering between renewal and decline. Economic development, like residential development, deserves attention.


According to Kearns, the committee could work with Westchester Square merchants to launch a Business Improvement District. It could also sponsor seminars covering government loan, tax incentives and grants.

“We’ll have business-minded members on the committee,” he said. “We’ll have a business-minded chair.”

Board member Virginia Gallagher isn’t frightened by the prospect of a second Great Depression.” But Gallagher believes communication between business owners and civic leaders will prove crucial to the area’s success.

Ready to face the challenge... and ready to put a plan of action in place?? Cool.

Less duplication, more cooperation: Local officials say improvements possible

The local government machine aims to provide its taxpayers with public services they depend upon - transportation access, economic development, education, recreational opportunities, law enforcement protection, infrastructure for water, roads, growth planning and more.


Morton County Commissioner Andy Zachmeier said some duplication could be eliminated by city and county boards attending the other's meetings. "We could work together. The snow removal could be one example," he said.

"We want to promote growth, but we want to keep property taxes low and keep business taxes low," Zachmeier said. He said that would attract more residents and economic development.

While snow removal is not a worry for us here (at least this month), I do like the effort to keep taxes low on business and property in an effort to attract MORE residents and economic development. It can be done folks.

Economic development program hopes to lure top companies to region

The Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada may be seen as a player-coach in Greater Reno-Tahoe's economic diversification efforts, but there are some real all-stars playing the actual game.

Key partners in this endeavor include NV Energy; the Nevada Commission on Economic Development; the cities of Reno, Sparks and Fernley; the seven counties that make up our region; the University of Nevada, Reno; Truckee Meadows Community College; Desert Research Institute; Reno-Tahoe International Airport; developers; Realtors; businesses and more. Some provide vital funding, others needed skills.

This diversity of talent will make something happen and that is precisely what our "Out-of-Market Business Attraction" program is all about. We're working to recruit companies and jobs to our area in addition to responding to inbound company inquiries and assisting existing companies looking to expand or even just stay in business.

Out-of-market attraction is important for at least four reasons:

# Jobs. Nearly everyone knows or is related to someone out of work and we need to create jobs as the feed source to the economic stimulus.

# Tax dollars. Companies and the people they employ pay taxes basic to our interdependent system of government and services.

# Diversification. A broad base of companies from different industries -- clean energy, advanced manufacturing, business and financial services, advanced logistics and more -- provide jobs and taxes that minimize the obvious dangers of a region supported by a single industry.

# Competition. Through sales relationships, public/media relations and marketing we must promote the Greater Reno-Tahoe region and its many assets to attract new business.


Our goal is to bring company executives here to experience Reno/Tahoe firsthand. Second only to personal contact, decision makers are most influenced by news stories, which makes a national public relations campaign critically important to our region's of-market attraction efforts and getting the word out that Reno/Tahoe is a top place to do business.

So I'm not just imagining influencing factors like 'news stories'. I knew it. I'll resist the urge to link to some really non flattering articles about our community from one of our main local media outlets. Issues that probably give private interests with private money pause before dropping their dollars locally.

But I really like the bullet points in the linked article. Jobs, tax dollars, diversity, competition... all things Kingman sorely needs more of.

PROGRESS: Building friendships: Cities find the personal touch helps draw, retain businesses

A friendly face can make all the difference in economic development.

The former Clarion Hotel in Wickliffe was a good opportunity and key location when Julius Mosley bought it in June 2007.

Yet, the reason the hotel reopened in January as the Mosley Select Suites Hotel was the city's desire to build a relationship with him.

"It helps when you have a friendly city," Mosley said. "Originally, they were very receptive so that was a plus. That takes down 90 percent of the roadblocks if you have a cooperating city."

Even with an economy still struggling to recover, Mosley continued his plans to open the 196-room hotel, located at 28500 Euclid Ave.

"I already started it before the economic meltdown. I can't let that affect me. I can't just roll over and play dead," he said.


Attracting business

Available land, buildings and work force represent vital elements to bringing business to the area, said Jay Foran, senior vice president of business attraction for Team NEO.

The Cleveland-area group, which focuses on marketing and outreach, has 45 active projects — 10 new ones in 2009 — that could potentially bring employers to Lake and Geauga counties. Although there were 12 new projects in 2008, the potential is great for the area considering there are 10 months left in the new year, Foran said.

"We're an attractive place," he said. "In these economic times, we will see a decent amount of lead opportunities come our way.

Of the 45 possible projects, Foran anticipates that 10 percent of them will come to fruition, which he considers "a good average."

"We've developed relationships with these people over the long run. We are being successful with these people," Foran said.

"We're becoming a contestant in these opportunities much more so than the past.

"Basically, I'm feeling good about our lead stream compared to the previous year. We didn't expect to be this vibrant this year," he said.


Keeping businesses

Business retention often can be more impactful than bringing in new businesses.

In 2008, Wickliffe attracted 30 new companies and 130 employees; however, Laver said 80 percent of the city's job creation is through existing businesses.

In Chardon, Assistant City Manager Randy Sharpe also said that job retention is crucial.

Last year, the city collaborated with the chamber of commerce to create a business visitation program, which allows them to build more personal relationships with employers.

Since the program was implemented, the city has visited 16 employers; Sharpe said the visits have been well-received.

"We felt it was a way to get to know them better, help them grow where they are or somewhere else in the community," Sharpe said.

Does Kingman see a decent amount of lead opportunities come its way??

Development head seeks to add 2 employees

By assuming day-to-day management of the city's infrastructure and development plan, the Greater Alexandria Economic Development Authority is encountering a work force issue for itself.

GAEDA, the city's economic-development arm, has two employees, Executive Director Clifford J. Moller and Executive Assistant Angela Varnado. That staff may need to double for the authority to handle the $96 million development plan known as SPARC, for Special Planned Activity Redevelopment Corridors.


Alexandria Mayor Jacques M. Roy said compensation will be addressed in a cooperative endeavor agreement he hopes to present Tuesday to the Alexandria City Council.

The agreement will lay out the role and deliverables associated with the SPARC program as agreed upon by the city and GAEDA. "A sharing of responsibilities" is how Roy described it.

SPARC's goals range include improving infrastructure, transportation and housing as a means to induce private economic development. The plan segments the city into three cultural restoration areas, or CRAs, roughly described as downtown and the Red River waterfront; North Bolton Avenue and MacArthur Drive; and Masonic Drive and Lee Street.

A total of $40 million from the city's sale of two long-term municipal bonds in July 2008 is available now to fund projects.


Roy and Lawson agree on SPARC's potential to transform the city.

Lawson called it the most significant thing the council and city have done. Roy described SPARC as "city altering."

"I know it can be," the mayor said, "and I believe that we're really on the precipice of something great."

The goal there is to attract private economic development. Will that be the goal here in Kingman?? When??

Covington mayor gathering IDEAs through certification program

Economic development, strategic planning for communities and building a competitive community with an attractive quality of life are only a few of the topics of the Louisiana Industrial Development Executives Association (IDEA)’s economic development certification program course that Covington Mayor Candace Watkins is attending this week in Baton Rouge.

Watkins said that participating in courses like these continuously gives her training to implement programs and ideas for growth in the city of Covington.

She will be commuting to Baton Rouge each day and plans to use the knowledge obtained through the course and seminars to further economic development and planning in the city.

Other seminars in the four-day course include retail expansion and downtown redevelopment, workforce development from the ground up, business retention and expansion, developing an entrepreneurial economy, finance in the local economic development world, effective targeted marketing for business recruitment and managing the economic development organization.

Citizens of Kingman are demanding everything I emphasized in the above paragraph from our local government.

Economy has slowed, city still seeing growth

Although the economy nationwide has slowed, Coppell’s economic developments is still growing, slowly, but it is growing, according to economic development coordinator Mindi Hurley.

“There has definitely been a slow down in development,” Hurley said. “Every city has experienced some slowdown because of the economy, but we have been fortunate in this area to not see the kind of slowdown other parts of the country has seen.”


Several new businesses have come into Coppell in the last six months, which is important to the city.

“In the last six months, we have had Market Street open, two restaurants, Chipotle and Mooyah, and American Home Mortgage Servicing,” Hurley said.

According to Hurley, American Home Mortgage Servicing could employ more than 750 people.

“I think that many people think you get a new business every week and that is not necessarily true,” Hurley said. “It takes a long time before a company will finally make the decision on a location.”

Hurley said she has had a few meetings in the past two weeks with companies putting out feelers about coming to Coppell.

“That doesn’t mean they will come,” she said. “In the last two weeks, I have met with four different companies that are looking.”

The companies range from small retail to larger industrial users, she said.


Hurley sees two areas which she hopes will continue to grow in the future.

“I hope we will see more retail and a variety of retail coming in,” she said. “In addition, we are just now beginning to see more office space in the community.”

When, I say when, will the good folks of the Kingman community see this kind of information in our own media??

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