Saturday, November 05, 2005

Doing Away with Economic Development?

“Have you ever heard of a town voting to do away with their economic development efforts?” Mary Lee Stotler, Director of the Freeport Main Street, asked me at the Texas Main Street and Downtown Conference this week in Laredo, TX. I had to admit that I had never heard of such a thing and couldn’t believe that anyone would be so shortsighted to do such a thing.

But, next Tuesday there is a referendum on the ballet in Freeport, TX (population 12,708) to abolish economic development in the city. The referendum started when one landowner who is opposed to a new marina in the town started a petition drive to abolish it.

Economic Development is the lifeblood of a community and I’m hopeful that there will not be enough curmudgeons in a town to do something so short sighted. Mary Lee has promised to let me know the results of this vote, which I’ll pass onto you next week.

I’ve been concerned for sometime that we in the industry often take our economic development work for granted. I’m convinced that we don’t do enough to educate the general population on what we do and why it is so important to the long term benefit of the entire community. I’ve seen some great annual reports that some ED groups have done, but if anyone is doing any advertising or other educational programs about their work aimed at the general population please send to me at and I’ll blog on it here.

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