Saturday’s sessions were definitely better than the previous sessions. I didn’t have to walk out on this. The day started with a breakdown of the topics that people felt were important to them, something they had placed on their “dream tree”. The topics were eco-tourism, public education, green economy, creative economy, history heritage, alternative transportation, media communication, no growth economy, accessible health and economic incentives.
Thank you, Eva Madison and Rick Stroud, for leading the economic incentive group This group was probably the largest of groups and there were a good number of business leaders present. In the morning session the group just threw out ideas and there was a general discussion of the state of the business community in Fayetteville. The group narrowed its discussion to 3 items. 1) What infrastructure does Fayetteville have in place 2) What sources of Funding are available 3) What kind of businesses do we want to go after?
The afternoon session focused on the 3 items that was developed in the morning. But first, we focused on the concept of do we really want growth? No, I am not joking. There was a morning presentation which explored the concept of no more businesses and no more people. The one thing these sessions have produced was a gigantic “I Want” list from a majority of the participants. How in the world do these people think they are going to get their “Christmas List”? Do they think they’ll just magically appear? No! All the stuff that people want depends on sales and property taxes to fund them. More people and businesses mean that more taxes can be collected. Oh goody! That means there is money available to fund the “I Want” list. So, do we want economic growth? HELL, YES!
Any way, now that we got that bit of stupidity out of the way, let’s get to the concrete suggestions from the group. The group decided it was good to expand existing businesses like the Green Valley and the UA Genesis Technology and try to recruit medical, pharmaceutical and a non-profit’s headquarters. It was suggested that a citizen’s group be formed to help developers with taking their projects through the city’s onerous development review process. The idea is to streamline the process and make it quicker. The group finished with the suggestion to give the Mayor a $5 million dollar quick action closing fund.
The ideas, suggestions and comments from this group were very informative. I really think the Mayor needs to tap into this group. If you can get this group working together more often I believe Fayetteville could really see some solid economic growth. Some of the discussion was filmed and I recommend that you view it once it becomes available. I'll link it if it's possible.