#TheGoodStuff: What is Economic Development?
By Jim Cowan, Chickasha Economic Development Council
Seems like every day I look at social media, I discover that it’s some kind of special day. National apple pie day or national left handed appreciation day, I have no idea who comes up with all of that and I sure don’t seem to be able to keep track of it. Some things get a whole week or even the entire month. I guess the general idea is to raise awareness for something that many people don’t know about or appreciate.
Last week was national economic development week across the country, so what exactly is economic development? Most people would say that it is bringing new jobs to town and that is definitely a big part of the process, but the big question is how do you bring jobs to town? The answer will depend upon many factors and can be very different for each community.
The Chickasha Industrial Authority receives funds from the Hotel/Motel tax here in Chickasha. The CIA then takes a portion of those proceeds and contracts with the Chickasha Economic Development Council to “provide services for the benefit of the City of Chickasha for the planning, encouraging, fostering, promoting and developing of programs to attract economic and industrial development to the City of Chickasha.” Some of the ways the EDC is tasked in doing that is to promote the business, industry and trade within the City. We also work to promote the City’s image so that the City will be looked favorably upon by industry.
At the May EDC Board meeting, two new grants were approved for the EDC to offer: a business expansion grant and a tourism grant. Our goal is to help local businesses that are expanding and adding new jobs as we also recruit new business to town. We also want to grow Chickasha as a tourism destination all through the year and not just during the Festival of Light. The EDC and the Chamber are partnering together on many different programs and events. We believe that as we improve the quality of life in Chickasha, residents will take notice. As our pride in our community grows, the word spreads and our momentum gets stronger.
We want new business and industry in Chickasha. Even though definitions of Economic Development can be hard to understand sometimes, it’s really this simple. We need to take care of the businesses we have here first, while we grow our civic pride. We need to believe in ourselves first, then we can all work together to promote our City’s image to everyone around us. Instead of just one guy writing a column each week, It’s so much more powerful when we are all talking #TheGoodStuff about Chickasha to everyone we know.