Wednesday, June 12, 2013
Goose Creek’s Economic Development Study Committee met for the first time on the morning of June 6.
The new committee, comprised of three city councilmembers (Franklin Moore, Mark Phillips and Kimo Esarey) and various members of the Economic Development Advisory Committee, primarily discussed hiring a consultant.
Other municipalities across the state, such as Newberry, have hired economic development consultants in order to draw more tourism and attract more businesses, according to Goose Creek city staff. Most of the committee agreed they would like to meet with a consultant as soon as possible.
Goose Creek City Administrator Dennis Harmon said the city is ready to proceed as soon as the committee gives the go-ahead.
“The most important part I saw about the scope of service is information gathering,” Rick Buckner said of the new committee. “It will guide the outcome.”
Esarey said the city probably already has a lot of data about itself but outside sources would have access to more resources.
“You’ve got to be willing to ask the hard questions,” Joe Bagwell said. “Why do we lose desirable businesses? Why do we attract the businesses we do? How does that impact the demographic?”
“There’s a balance between business and bedrooms – we don’t know what that balance is,” Buckner said.
“Why’d we lose a Cadillac dealership that’s now a rent-to-own used car lot?” Bagwell asked. “Two title loan places across from each other. Why do we attract that? Why is the Food Lion facility a potential storage unit when it could be a retail hub with a captive audience?”
“We need an unbiased source to tell us where the development is,” Ron Henderson said. “We need soldiers on the front lines.”
Harmon recommended bringing a consultant before the study committee to make a presentation. He said he would distribute a client list of potential consultants to the committee.
“We don’t have any input for the new party of the city,” Henderson said. “None of us live at Carnes Crossroads. We don’t have any input from that sector at all. Is that the committee’s opinion? Is that part of the city at all?”
“We’ll basically be marketing the city,” Buckner said. “I think we ought to get them in here and have the talk to us.”
Esarey suggested establishing a regular meeting time for the new committee.
Assistant City Administrator Jeff Molinari said working with the consultant would be about a nine to 12 month process and the consultant would likely need a week’s notice for a meeting with the committee.
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