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Town’s EDC tries focusing


“We’ve laid the groundwork, and now we need to get on with it.”

Economic Development Committee chair Jim Holladay challenged committee members to get moving at a meeting Wednesday, Oct. 6.

“We’re spinning our tires in the mud — that’s obvious,” Bill Johns, Bluewater Consulting LLC, agreed.

“It comes from having no plan,” he added.

The EDC was chartered last summer, and was tasked with authorizing various economic development ideas, including completing an economic development strategic plan, which has not been done.

Yet.

“You have to have a strategic plan to know where you’re going and what to measure,” Johns said.

He and Town Administrator David Smoak have been meeting individually, Johns said, and the two were going to complete the strategic plan themselves this month, then return to the EDC for validation of the plan at its November meeting.


“Let us move forward and let us bring it back to you individually, parts of it, and then bring it back to the committee as a whole for validation in November,” Johns said.

The strategic plan would then go to Farragut’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen for approval and/or changes, and if necessary would come back to the EDC in December.

“We should have a final working document in January,” Johns said.

The EDC discussions the last few months have been circular, Johns said, and that comes from not having a plan.

“All we talked about today is talking all around this [strategic plan],” Johns said.

“Having a long-term game plan will make it all easier in the long run,” he added.

Several committee members asked to be on a subcommittee that would help design the plan, but Johns ultimately asked that he simply return with a document that would be open to changes.

“No hard feelings. Make the committee the size you feel it should be,” Phil Dangel, The Shrimp Dock, said.

In other matters, Holladay closed another frequent topic of discussion as well: a “Top 10” list of reasons to do business in Farragut.

“This topic is closed. We’ve beat this dead horse to death, and I now pronounce it dead,” he said.

The EDC still floundered a little in discussions of how to retain and recruit businesses — a major committee goal.

“We need to keep our focus,” Farragut Wine & Spirits owner David Purvis said.

“I feel like we’re off track a little bit about why we’re talking about some of these things,” he added.

Purvis wanted to re-divide the EDC’s standing subcommittees: community relations, government-alliance relations and business relations. Instead, the subcommittees should focus on those two main goals — one to retain and another to recruit businesses.

“You’ve got to target or make appointments with people or companies in advance,” Jim Nixon, Turkey Creek Land Partners, said.

“Whether this is an emphasis with the Town or not, it should be,” he added.

Purvis said he wanted a group of EDC members to begin work on the information packets that would go to the ICSC conference, but Johns said a great deal of that information probably would come out of the strategic plan and could be compiled in December.

 

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