NEW MADRID - A group of business leaders will join city efforts to encourage local economic development efforts.
A Board of Economic Development was created for the city of New Madrid in response to efforts under way by the New Madrid County Mayors' Association. The New Madrid County Mayors' Association has proposed hiring an economic developer to assist efforts to bring jobs to the county.
According to New Madrid City Manager John Gilbert the economic development problem must be dealt with from a city as well as a county perspective. "We must develop a plan to increase our population, create jobs and address our student enrollment," said Gilbert.
With the unanimous approval of the New Madrid Board of Alderman, Mayor Donnie Brown named the Board of Economic Development for the city Industrial Development Board in August.
Those who accepted appointments were Harriette Hunter Myers, Bank of New Madrid; Harry Gremore, Edward Jones; Harvey Graham, Graham Realty; Monica May, Regions Bank; and Mark Kolwyck, Martindale Chevrolet. Gilbert and Brown will also serve on the board.
At the group's first meeting Aug. 29, the members established as one of its goals to work on a marketable image for the city. Also discussed were billboards promoting living in the city and incentives to lure businesses and residents alike to locate in New Madrid.
One of the first actions will be a survey to collect data on why people working in our county live in other counties. The Board wants to know what it will take to get people to locate within the city and definitely within the county.
"I came out of the meeting feeling very optimistic about our community's future," said Gremore. While Gremore said he sees many positives about New Madrid, he added, "it's going to take a lot of work but I strongly believe we are very capable of attracting new businesses to our area."
Kolwyck was also optimistic following the meeting. While like all communities New Madrid may hope to attract a mega employer, Kolwyck said it may be a more realistic goal to seek a developer for the Interstate-55-Highway 61 interchange as well as the development of an ad campaign to promote the community.
"The common goal of renewing the advantages of living in 'small town America,' yet have the growth needed to retain young people so that they may live the American dream, is worthwhile endeavor," said Myers. "The creation of job opportunities will enhance the advantages small town life not only for the city of New Madrid, but for every city in New Madrid County."
Brown said he was encouraged by the participation of the members. "I feel this group is on board and will work to better our community and make it grow," said Brown, who added he would like to see all communities in New Madrid County establish their own boards.
The next Board meeting will be in September. City staff will begin working on a survey for distribution to workers employed in New Madrid but residing outside the area.