NARRAGANSETT—The Economic Development Committee (EDC) met with the Narragansett town council in a work session in order to discuss the future implementation of the recently created economic development plan.
“We look at this as an investment plan,” said Edward Mazze, Chair of the EDC. “Without the support of the town council, we will be stuck in neutral.”
The plan, which has been worked on in multiple public sessions and committee meetings over the past three years, aims to present directed initiatives which will ultimately improve the economic and social environment in Narragansett. The EDC outlined five points of emphasis for the town council to discuss.
A major point of debate among town council members and the EDC was the implementation of a full or part-time economic development/marketing coordinator, a position which would report to the Town Manager. This coordinator would have a functional grasp of the priorities of the Economic Development Plan and understand the routes and obstacles concerning the plan’s real-life implementation.
“The idea of this marketing person is a multitasking position,” said Town Councilman Christopher Wilkens. “They need to take ownership of the plan.”
The economic development coordinator would also be responsible for obtaining significant amounts of funding, either through federal or state programs, which would require grant writing skills. The importance of garnering such funding is crucial to the plan’s success because many of the initiatives require a level monetary investment which the town alone may not be able to bear.
“I think we tend to look at the tip of the iceberg, but there is a tremendous amount of funding out there,” said Mazze. “You can’t get funds unless you apply, and whatever funding comes out of Washington will be for economic development.”
The contention of some members of the town council is the difficulty in implementing a new town position while others which have been long tenured within the town government are being cut due to budget constraints. The EDC stressed, however, that presently there is no one who can dedicate their full attention and expertise towards the economic development plan.
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