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Monday, April 21, 2008

Minutes; Economic Development: 4-17-2008

Economic Development Committee

Regular Meeting
Tuesday, April 17, 2008, 5:30 pm
Evansville High School, 640 S. Fifth Street, Evansville, Wisconsin


I. Roll Call. Present: Tony Wyse, Gene Bass, Dave Olsen, Roger Berg, Janis Ringhand, James Otterstein. Absent: Matthias James. Also present: Mayor Sandy Decker, former Committee member Julie Meredith, City Administrator Dan Wietecha, Chamber of Commerce Director Bridgit Larsen, consultant Judy Whalen, and members of the public.

II. Approval of Agenda. The agenda was approved as presented.

III. Minutes of February 19, 2008, Meeting. Berg made a motion, seconded by Olsen, to waive the reading of the minutes and approve as presented. Motion approved unanimously.

IV. Citizen Appearances. None.

V. Economic Development Strategy: Task Force Presentations.
a. Workforce Development. Jim Brooks presented the task force’s goal: Develop and nurture co-operative working networks to secure the resources to build an adaptable and skilled workforce with a positive work ethic and a strong sense of personal responsibility. Recommendations were presented for business, education-based, community-based organization, and government networks.

b. Governmental Relations. Betsy Ahner presented the task force’s goal: Develop a cooperative, intergovernmental, straightforward, and clearly defined process to reach out, attract, and retain a broad economic base for Evansville. Recommendations included establishing an Economic Development Alliance, improving web/internet tools for use by members of the Economic Development Alliance, and expanding outreach between governmental bodies (local, county, and state).

c. Downtown Revitalization. John Gishnock presented the task force’s goal: Create a healthy, vibrant, and walkable downtown by expanding and attracting employment, shopping, and social activities. Recommendations included hosting a downtown retail start-up fair to connect entrepreneurs with information on maintaining an existing business, opening a new business, and acquiring funding; forming a steering committee to develop a user-friendly manual for city government and the public that lists a menu of low-cost tools and strategies for revitalizing Evansville’s central business district; developing a pilot business for the principal objective of creating a template for new business start-ups; and creating a green business initiative to form the “Allen Creek Collective,” a green business mall in downtown Evansville.

d. Marketing. Don Meggers presented the task force’s goal: Stop the leak. Recommendations included improved marketing to local and surrounding communities, making Evansville a destination location, and incentives for existing or beginning businesses.

e. Entrepreneurial Environment & Networking. Eric Larsen presented the task force’s goal: Facilitate the interaction of entrepreneurial people, ideas, and resources. Recommendation included creating a better networking environment for local business, developing greater access to high-speed internet, and creating a business resource center (both web and brick & mortar) for the city.

VI. Chamber of Commerce Report. Bridgit Larsen said that the Chamber is hosting a breakfast with Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin on Monday, April 21.

VII. City Administrator Report. Wietecha distributed introductory materials for the Economic Development element of Rock County’s Smart Growth Plan. Otterstein said that the advisory committee’s August meeting would consider recommendations for that chapter; there is also a smart growth open house scheduled for May 29.

VIII. Adjournment. Wyse thanked everyone for attending and the task forces for their work. With no further business, Bass made a motion, seconded by Wyse, to adjourn. Motion approved unanimously.

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