New economic development team hopes to attract jobs

Published 11:28 am Friday, February 24, 2012

A new, collaborative strategic effort is under way to attract industry, attract retail, and create jobs in Bainbridge and Decatur County.

Rick McCaskill and the Industrial Development Authority (IDA) have created an economic development team, consisting of various stakeholders throughout the community, to craft a strategy to best position the community for growth.

“We wanted to take a look of where we are now and develop a strategic plan for growth in the future,” McCaskill said. “We want to determine where we want to be in five years and what will it take to get there.

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“We want to know from our team what we are doing right, what we are doing wrong, and where do we want to go from here.”

Representatives from the IDA, the Bainbridge-Decatur County Chamber of Commerce, the City of Bainbridge, Decatur County, and Bainbridge College comprise the oversight team. From that group, several committees were formed to develop growth strategies in different categories.

The committees include outdoor recreation, retail, agriculture, industry, minority community, and government. These committees are comprised of community members, including business leaders, elected officials, and educators.

IDA Chairman Keith Lyle says that this level of cooperation between the various groups is vital to attracting industry and creating jobs.

“There is a renewed sense of urgency among the various stakeholders collaborating to create a far-reaching strategy,” Lyle said. “We want to highlight the community’s strengths, which are many, marginalize our weaknesses, and make Bainbridge and Decatur County attractive to prospective employers and industry. We want to diversify our efforts in order to diversify our results.”

Newly-seated Chamber of Commerce Chairman Charles Tyson, along with Lyle, has been a driving force behind the development of the group.