Commentary: Economic development efforts continue

Commentary: Economic development efforts continue

Record-Journal

The Durham Economic Development Commission has been working very hard the last year and a half to reach out to Durham residents and local businesses via our Facebook page, DurhamEDC. We share community events, local business news and promotions and human interest posts.

If you haven't liked our page, please do.

A lot of what we have been doing is behind the scenes. The commission meets one to two nights a month to discuss our economic strategies. Together, we have created a refined list of businesses in town using documentation provided by our Town Hall, as well as created a list of available commercial and industrial properties.

We have also been working with a consultant to tackle our goals as stated in the Plan of Conservation and Development adopted in 2016. With the recent approval of the town budget, our commission will have the opportunity to work with consultant Mary Dickerson, of Dickerson Development Consulting LLC, more frequently in the upcoming fiscal year.

Mary has a wealth of knowledge and experience in the area of economic development and has inspired our commission to work hard towards our objectives as set forth in the Plan of Conservation and Development.

Rome wasn’t built in a day and positive growth will take time.

As a commission, whose members are appointed by the Board of Selectmen, we volunteer our time by meeting once and, sometimes, twice a month to discuss economic strategies.

Our members have attended workshops to learn how other communities are bringing about economic diversity and growth. This spring, we will be participating in a program called First Impressions, where we will be partnered with another Connecticut community and visit each other’s town.

To quote the First Impressions website: “All communities have difficulties viewing their surroundings as others see them—customers, visitors, potential residents and potential businesses. Our views may be skewed by familiarization, a lack of differing perspectives and expectations, and a reluctance to be completely honest with our neighbors regarding difficult issues such as the appearance of buildings, customer service, or maintenance of public facilities.”

The main purpose of this program is for each town’s team to offer their impressions through objective lenses. We have a team of residents and commission and board members who will be trained to participate in this program.

After the training, our team will visit our partner town of Hebron to view their town, businesses and attractions.

They will visit Durham to do the same.

The First Impressions coordinators will take the data we provide and prepare a presentation. Our teams will meet to share our impressions of each other’s town and, of course, we will share this with the residents of Durham.

The Durham Economic Development commission hopes that we will be able to affect positive economic growth in our town, and we encourage our residents to offer ideas to help us fulfill our new mission statement: “… to facilitate the economic growth and revitalization of our existing businesses while attracting new retail, industrial and cultural investment that will complement the character of our community. Our goal is a diversified economic base that offers employment opportunity and a quality of life that can be enjoyed by all who live, work or visit our community.”

-- Submitted by the Durham Economic Development commission.


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