The Blue Springs Economic Development Corporation has celebrated two anniversaries since becoming a separate entity from the city of Blue Springs.

The Blue Springs Economic Development Corporation has celebrated two anniversaries since becoming a separate entity from the city of Blue Springs.

The EDC used to function as part of city staff and had its headquarters within city hall before becoming an independent entity. The now public-private venture contracts with the city to perform economic development and has investing members and members of the board of directors. The staff has offices at 1600 N.E. Coronado Drive, in the form Harmon Industries building.

President Brien Starner, who is charged with attracting new business, and who leads the EDC said the group sets annual goals but many times they’re carry-overs from previous years.

“What we ended up finding out is that the goals don’t really change that much from year to year,” he said. “The fundamentals don’t change from year-to-year because it’s a long-term process.”

Instead, Starner said, the group assesses if they’re on track and where they should be as  if moving through the process to completion.
Business Outreach Manager Sher Lopez assists and retains existing businesses while Ann Judd acts as administrative assistant and responds to inquiries, communications and conducts other administrative duties. Marketing Consultant Sharon Liese is charged with the design, promotional concept development and messaging for Blue Springs and the EDC. Liese created a marketing brochure that details how the EDC works to grow investment and development throughout Blue Springs.

In addition, the staff, with guidance by Liese, created a new promotional theme designed to reflect the corporation’s optimistic outlook: Think. Believe. Do.

A board of directors oversees the corporation’s activities. Investing partners in attendance at the EDC’s annual business meeting this past spring elected Randy Castle, president, Blue Springs market, Metcalf Bank, and Cindy Hood, marketing director, Stewart Title. The two serve three-year terms on the board of directors as membership representatives.

The EDC has had several accomplishments, of late, including the establishment of a downtown master plan, which has created clarity along the path of development and re-development, Starner said. In addition, much of the downtown area is eligible for property tax abatement assistance for some development. The defined area has been slightly expanded and now includes more investment levels to aid developers. The Blue Springs City Council wanted more information before granting special financial incentives, including to make certain that the developments won’t negatively impact the Blue Springs School District in any way. The new policies are in place for five years.

“This creates shorter timelines and a more reasonable likelihood of outcome,” Starner said. “We’ve reduced the risk by offering property tax abatement on their investment.”

The organization recently has implemented a business retention and expansion brochure to accompany the already-existing program and is available to area employers.

Another new brochure offers information about the EDC’s mission, products and services and is handed out by Lopez when meeting with local employers. A portfolio binder offers a customized overview of the EDC and the community.

In addition, an external marketing brochure, already in the works, was expected to be completed by the fall of 2008, Starner said.