Jefferson Explores Getting Organized for Economic Growth

city-of-jefferson-headerBy BOB PALMER
Jimplecute News Editor

Would you spend $50,000 to get assistance that could win you $3.1 million?

That’s the question Jefferson leaders ponder as they watch the clock tick deeper into 2020.

During 2019, Jefferson Economic Development Corporation (JEDCO) played a significant role in bringing Queen Horse Bedding, Pore Technologies and CEFCO to Marion County. Despite this success, members of the JEDCO board believe economic development could be approached in a more systematic way.

“Two JEDCO board members attended a workshop in Conway, Arkansas,” Board Secretary Robin Moore related. “They discussed community development and economic development as well.” 

The session opened some eyes.

“You can’t have community development without economic development,” Moore said of the presentation. “A lot of the focus was strategic planning. We had touched on it before attending, but it got us enthusiastic about bringing it back to our board and our community to see if it was something we would propose.”

JEDCO is funded by a half-cent city sales tax dedicated to economic development.

In November, the JEDCO board, members of the Jefferson City Council and members of the city’s Tourism Committee met with Jefferson native Dr. John T. Cooper, Jr., who heads Texas Target Communities, the Texas A&M University program that began in 1993 with the Department of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning.

THE TxTC PROGRAM

“Target Communities can help communities when they are at a point where they want to do development in an orderly way,” Cooper, a 1988 Jefferson High School graduate, told the Jimplecute

The TxTC survey helps communities develop leadership capacity and define where a place is and where it needs to go, according to Cooper, who called the session “promising.”

JEDCO Board President Bob Avery said his organization will continue to explore the possibility of working with TxTC or a similar group.

“They can come up with a comprehensive plan not only for economic development, but for … (a subscription to the Jimplecute is required to continue reading this article).

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