By BEN NELSON
It has been a long and winding road, but soon our community will have a new economic development strategic plan and make some important decisions about creating and recruiting jobs to Boyle County.
Hopefully, the divisive public behavior that has our community considered by some as “business unfriendly” will give way to more constructive ways to debate our future as we attempt to come together.
I co-own Maple Tree Gallery and have gotten involved in our community’s economic development efforts to help us be stronger. I have no agenda, nor am I an expert. But I do have over a decade of working “hands on” as a volunteer within the Economic Development Partnership.
Central to some of the most immediate decisions is how best to organize to drive economic development for Boyle County. While some in our community advocate economic development is best as a function of government, those working on the issues have reaffirmed a private-public partnership is the way to go. In fact, it would cost the community more money than the current approach, since the private entities contribute over $231,000 — almost half — of what our community invests at present. According to most experts, more concerning is how a public-only approach can politicize economic development.
In July 2015, the EDP board formed a working group to facilitate the creation of a strategic plan for Boyle County’s economic development. The working group members are: now-retired Farmers National Bank executive and former chair of Heart of Danville Tom Poland; Boyle County Judge-Executive Harold McKinney;…
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