By Stephen Smoot
As the year 2022 comes to a close, the Pendleton County Economic and Community Development is excited to share the year’s progress, development, and future plans with the community. The third meeting of the year will take place at 6 p.m. on Nov. 30 at the community building in Franklin.
The main purpose of the business roundtable lies in fostering communication. As Laura Brown, EDA executive director explains, “In the past, the county has had sort of a silo effect with many organizations doing their own thing rather than talking to each other.” She added that, “our goal for the EDA is to bring people together. Collaboration is crucial in a community the size of Pendleton.”
Business owners and other participants should not expect to merely hear a report from the EDA. Instead, Brown prefers that anyone take the opportunity to participate. As she stated, “the year in review gives our community a chance to talk and share.”
Sharing includes engaging the EDA itself on its performance and plans. Brown stated, “For the EDA in particular, we want community feedback and we also want to be able to share what we’ve been working on internally.”
Additionally, Brown said, “I’m excited for the community to get a true update on broadband and cellular activity in the county.”
Last July, the EDA’s business roundtable spotlighted the buyers of the new Mountain Springs Motel. Additionally, organizers of GRUSK, or Gravel Race Up Spruce Knob, presented on the impact of their July event. The race took place on 82 miles of backroads in and around the iconic mountain. Brown said, “It really helped to build community awareness.” Giving businesses a chance to re-cap their efforts and share successes provides a forum for ideas that can benefit the entire business community.
As Brown explains, “For the EDA in particular, we want community feedback and we want to be able to share what we have been working on internally.” She added that she also needs to hear from businesses and other organizations about any challenges faced over the course of the year.
With the establishment of the newly separated convention and visitors bureau and the hiring of an executive director earlier this month, efforts to build the county’s tourism economy may also be discussed. Additionally, the county has seen during the past year a substantial rise in collections of the hotel-motel tax, which will help to fund tourism promotion efforts.
“This is an encouraging way to both end a year and begin a new one.” Brown said.
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