Thumbnail: Economic Development Coordinator

One of the articles Town residents will vote on next week is whether to set aside funds for the creation of an Economic Development Coordinator part-time position at a cost of $50K. One of the people who has been involved in this suggestion/request is Charlie Kimbell, Chair of the volunteer Woodstock Economic Development Commission. He provided us with the following simple explanation for the position. This from Kimbell in answer to some questions from Woodstock Early Bird who expressed some strong reservations about the amount of money for a PT position:

This initiative is focused on diversifying the economic base in Woodstock, adding jobs and companies outside of the tourism industry while supporting the tourism base.   You mentioned that it was hard to support the $50,000 request (of which $40,000 is intended to pay for a highly talented, independent contractor) while there are folks that are struggling to find decent paying jobs.  And that really is the point of this initiative, to provide better paying jobs through that diversification, making Woodstock a place where people can grow and afford to live, work and play. 

 

The person that gets hired for this position has to work closely with the EDC, the selectboard and other organizations in town (the Chamber, Sustainable Woodstock) to make sure that any efforts are consistent with the needs and wants of the community.  It may be someone already in our midst, it may be someone who wants to live here.  Regardless, their efforts will be shaped and guided by the folks that hired him/her. 

 

The most logical places to look for companies who want to locate or expand in Woodstock are among those already affiliated with the area and who embrace the quality of life here:  vacationers, second home owners, WUHS alumni, Dartmouth alumni.  By concentrating on those groups, it makes it easier to market to them through targeted, innovative marketing efforts.   We are not seeking to rebrand anything, but to leverage the brand that already is Woodstock. 

 

The EDC initiative has significant overlap with many other organizations, as by extension many issues can be considered to have an impact on the local economy.  The activities of the Chamber of Commerce do a good job of promoting Woodstock and the organization is focused on the events that bring people to town and on the issues relevant to its members.  Any of the cultural organizations also have an economic impact and are important to the community. 

The Town Selectboard and the Village Trustees agreed to create the Woodstock EDC in 2009 because they recognized that there needed to be one organization focused purely on the economic health of Woodstock.  Since then they have approved suggestions made by the EDC (the parking voucher program, moving the snow dump, funding the creation and maintenance of a database of all Woodstock businesses) and still relay on the advisory group in this area. The EDC has met with the Planning Commission numerous times about the town plan and related issues (the East End, for instance) and has contributed thoughts about the town plan. 

 

But, what we have found is that there is no one who can, on a day-to-day basis, execute the plans around economic development.  It requires more than a volunteer.  It requires a seasoned development professional who can make things happen.

3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Mary on February 25, 2013 at 21:11

    So wait, you’re a new outlet but you’re also expressing “strong reservations” about an issue?

    WEB Reply: You bet we express opinions here. This is a fact-based news and opinion blog. You will always know where we stand and given that you, the reader can formulate your own opinion.

    This is what we have been doing for almost two years. For those who don’t get it: This is a personal blog. We have support from the community for offering news often not found elsewhere and opinions often in the community but not spoken.

    While we are not always objective, we try to be factual and honest about what biases may or may not exist. This is actually a tenet of professional journalism whether you consider this blog journalism or not.

    It is not particularly important what you call this because it is our voice and point of view – that’s what a web log is.

    WEB

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  2. Posted by Lance Webster on February 25, 2013 at 21:50

    express opinions you bet why not Julia takes care of all of us thanks WEB WC deP

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  3. Julia, you go girl. Somebody’s gotta point out that the Emperor’s not wearing any clothes! I wonder, since it’s only a part-time job, will the new Economic Development Coordinator be able to get a job to fill out their day figuring out how to attract business to Bellows Falls, or Claremont, or somewhere else?

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