New Economic Development Director Takes Reins
Karen Shade - December 15, 2016 2:59 pm
In rapid order, the Salina Community Economic Development Organization (SCEDO) approved spending requests for computer equipment and general accounting services. It is also seeking individuals to expediently design its logo and website.
It is the fourth day on the job for Director Mitch Robinson. He hopes to get phone and internet service established on Friday, so the SCEDO can be assigned its own phone number.
SCEDO’s Board approved a $5,000 “annual pledge” to Kansas Department of Commerce’s economic development program. This level of support will allow Robinson to participate in “three events, such as trade shows, sporting events, receptions, breakfasts, lunches or dinners” at ten identified Team Kansas events. Seven of these events occur outside of Kansas; three are linked with sporting events in KCMO.
In the past, the Salina Airport Authority and Salina Area Chamber of Commerce split the $5,000 Team Kansas pledge. SCEDO will now pick up the entire cost. Team Kansas pledge levels vary from $1,000 to $15,000, with higher levels including “participation at a premium event” and logo inclusion on promotional materials. Robinson said that in Kentucky, his organization paid dues of $25,000 that enabled him to attend additional events at additional venues.
Robinson said that attending “consultant events” in Chicago and Atlanta are key, as “consultants drive projects across the nation”. These events occur in February and March. To that end, the Board approved a $5,000 spending limit on a credit card that Robinson will use in part for travel. Robinson reassured the Board that he’d be “transparent” in how he spent SCEDO money.
The Board acknowledged that various banks had expressed interest in providing the SCEDO’s banking functions. Robinson said investigating which bank might best serve the SCEDO’s interests may have to wait until the “second quarter” of 2017. Robinson gave priority to completing a target industry analysis.
Robinson said he plans for SCEDO to host a “kick off” reception for Kansas Department of Commerce Secretary Antonio Soave in the near future. SCEDO will make a 5 to 8 minute presentation highlighting the community. State Representative JR Claeys is facilitating communication between the SCEDO and State Department of Commerce.
Downtown Development Update
City Manager Jason Gage hinted that the Salina City Commission may meet in late December to approve aspects of the downtown development plan. Because Christmas and New Year’s Day fall on Sundays, the City will observe these holidays on the following Mondays—which is the day the City Commission usually meets.
Gage updated the SCEDO on the downtown development plans; these can be found on the city’s website. He said the City is focused on booking tournaments at the field house, with the goal of spurring tourism. When questioned, he admitted that the downtown development will not produce many “quality” jobs.
The SCEDO briefly discussed plans for electing, or re-electing, officers at its January meeting. With little fanfare, the SCEDO acknowledged that it first met a year ago.