Thursday, May 9, 2013
In a meeting that was the first of its kind, Goose Creek City Council met with the city’s Economic Development Advisory Committee.
The May 1 session took place at city hall so each group could discuss its concerns regarding economic development and options to building a better relationship between council and EDAC.
Item number five on the city’s comprehensive plan is economic development.
It was decided a new, committee will be formed for this purpose.
The committee is called the Economic Development Study Committee. It is made up of councilmembers Franklin Moore, Kimo Esarey and Mark Phillips – who is already on EDAC – and EDAC Chairman Rick Buckner and whichever other EDAC members can attend scheduled meetings.
With a committee there is no quorum and it’s easier to get things done with less fingers in the pot, Esarey said.
The EDAC formed in 1994 soon after the U.S. Navy base closed causing boarded-up storefronts, EDAC’s Ron Henderson said. The volunteer committee has worked with little direction from the city or council; Councilmember Marguerite Brown said, “I think we owe them.”
“We don’t communicate enough,” Councilmember John McCants said. “Communication has become a problem. We don’t want to reach beyond the border.”
“This is what we wanted to do,” EDAC’s Ron Anderson said. “You’ve got to change your plan. It’s a moving target. It’s not going to happen overnight.”
“It’s a process, it has to develop,” Buckner said.
Esarey said Goose Creek has been a bedroom community but now it’s time to get the city’s name out there to be able to build a tax base. He said the TIF money that previously paid for buildings ran out at the end of last year.
“I suggested hiring a consultant,” Moore said.
City Administrator Dennis Harmon, Moore, and Assistant City Administrator Jeff Molinari met with a consultant recently to discuss marketing and branding. Molinari said the consultant has worked with municipalities including Newberry and Anderson.
The estimated cost for a consulting project lasting nine months to a year is about $37,000, Molinari said.
“We need restaurants,” Molinari said. “What can we attract in the city? They’ve got experience in that area.”
Harmon said it would be natural for the new committee to explore that.
“We want to start to get answers to our questions,” EDAC’s Joe Bagwell said. “Why do we recruit certain businesses? Why do we stumble?”