The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

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April 11, 2012

Locust creates own EDC

Wednesday, April 11, 2012 — Locust City Council made the decision Thursday night to create a local economic development commission. The commission will be focused on recruiting small businesses to Locust, according to Councilman Mike Haigler, who made the recommendation to create the committee.

“We need to focus on the small businesses — those that fall through the cracks. If we have 10 businesses that create 10 jobs, that’s 100 jobs we’ve brought to Locust,” Haigler said.

The commission will also be tasked with meeting with developers who may be interested in building apartments, condos or town homes around the city.

“Many businesses do a rooftop study and look at the population to see if its feasible to bring their business to an area. In that way, residential growth can spark economic growth,” Haigler said.

Haigler explained that the idea to create the commission was something he had discussed while serving as the chief of police for Locust, but now that he is serving on the council, he decided it was time to revisit the idea.

“Locust is served by two economic development boards since our borders extend into two counties. While we primarily work with the Stanly County EDC board, they are focused on bringing large businesses and industry to the county,” Haigler said.

“Our hope is that our local EDC board can work hand-in-hand with the county board. Their role is to bring jobs through large business and we don’t want to duplicate that because it would be a waste of time and resources. But we would hope that if they are contacted by a smaller business that they would pass on that information, and we would do the same if we’re contacted by an industry.”

The council voted Thursday night to appoint Tim Fesperman, assistant city administrator, to the board to serve as the city staff member. Four other individuals will be appointed at the next council meeting.

Haigler explained that the board will be comprised of five residents of Locust who have a business background, and who have established contacts during their careers.

“We hope this new board will be similar to a planning and zoning board in that it is separate from the council, but can come back and make presentations to the council and can act on their own under the authority of the council,” Haigler said.

Anyone with questions or seeking more information regarding the new economic development commission for Locust can contact Haigler or Fesperman at (704) 888-5260.

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