Good news. Collier County commissioners are interested in economic diversification and redevelopment.
They are engaged and all have opinions on what our community should and should not do, based on their responses to a presentation by the Economic Development Council of Collier County, which is involved in an ongoing public-private partnership with the county to get that big job done.
Specifically, the EDC came to a commission workshop the other day to answer questions and hopefully justify the county’s continued $400,000-a-year investment in recruiting and retaining new and existing employers beyond tourism and construction.
Some of the commissioners’ thoughts and suggestions were old and some were new. Some were visionary and some not.
They include working more closely with the tourism industry, focusing on global communications services rather than manufacturing, avoiding competition for high-tech firms that require collegiate infrastructure, informational booths at festivals, and tapping past and present CEOs who already live here.
But that is the nature of opinions. Seldom does a single one have an exclusive franchise on the truth, and they tend to get better as they mix or collide with one another. The key is engagement, and the commissioners are now there. We believe commissioners will come to see that the EDC is on the right track with Project Innovation and economic gardening — a proven method of helping to grow and retain current business — among other efforts.
We also hope they see the $400,000 per year as an investment, and growing our economy will be much more possible with the EDC’s involvement than without it.
Disclaimer: Naples Daily News Publisher Chris Doyle is a board member of the EDC and co-chairman of Project Innovation.