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Village Considering Formation of Economic Development Commission

Nov 25, 2014 08:24PM ● By Steven Jack

Three years after disbanding the Oswego Economic Development Corporation, village officials are again considering the formation of a similar group.

Village Board trustees discussed at their Tuesday night Committee of the Whole meeting three options to support the efforts of Economic Development Director Vijay Gadde.

Those options presented by Village Administrator Steve Jones include the creation of a village-appointed commission, an external nonprofit corporation with a village-employed director and external nonprofit corporation with staff not employed by the village. The OEDC, which was disbanded in 2011, most closely resembled the final option, Jones said. 

“As someone who has worked in communities with both in-house and external economic development, I can attest that there is no single best way to accomplish this effort,” Jones said in a memo to trustees. “Success or failure is less about structure and more about effective marketing, professional competence, commitment, vision and economic marketability of the community.”

Trustees agreed the creation of a commission appointed by the village president is the best option. 

The set up would resemble the village’s plan commission, which reviews a variety of residential, commercial and industrial proposals as they relate to village development.

“I’m a firm believer that more ideas mean better ideas,” said Trustee Gail Johnson.

Commissioners would be experts in a variety of fields essential to economic development such as commercial real estate.

Asked for his input, Gadde said he encourages outside support.

“Anything that would increase communication with the business community is helpful,” he said.

Jones said the next step will be to gather information on creating a commission and bring it back to the Village Board for further discussion.