Monday, September 21, 2009
sponsored by Graue Inc.

Lincoln holds 1st Economic Development Summit

Part 6: What are the opportunities in Lincoln, Logan County?

(Part 1: Vision set for participants)

(Part 2: A door opens for change in Lincoln and Logan County)

(Part 3: What are our strengths?)

(Part 4: What makes Lincoln and Logan County unique?)

(Part 5: What are the opportunities in Lincoln, Logan County?)

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[September 21, 2009]  While all of the groups listed tourism as something the city needs to continue expanding, it was Mayor Keith Snyder's group that took it to a new level.

"We talked a little bit about bed and breakfasts, and how that we don't for some reason have a strong bed and breakfast presence," he said. "We wondered if maybe it was because there weren't entertainment venues on the weekend."

He went on to talk about suggestions of nightclubs, fine dining, family dining and renewing the arts and entertainment, either through theatrical clubs or college events, or both, as well as focusing on family-centered activities. He closed his comments by saying, "Opportunities exist for us to build up some of these and attract folks who will visit and stay for a while."

Snyder's group was also the only group to talk about green initiatives and possible opportunities there for attracting business and industry. But they didn't go into any specifics on what might come out of that.

Cox's final challenge to the three tables was to draw a picture. To a certain extent this was their final exam, as they were to take what they had learned in the half-day workshop and illustrate their vision for the future.

As the three groups displayed their maps, it appeared that they were all of a like mind. They all recognized that to grow the city, they were going to have to take care of the county as well, and for the county to thrive, they had to grow the city.

Their maps included development of the city's north side, restructuring of the downtown area, a continued presence of wind technology and redevelopment of the LDC campus.

A couple of the maps included airport expansion, and one did a relocation and expansion of the fairgrounds and racetrack.

As the day came to an end, Cox summed up what the next steps are going to be for the city. He stressed that this group, or one like it, needed to continue. They need to work on establishing unity and trust between city, county, economic development and other commerce-related groups, and they need to address some of the perception issues.

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As Snyder closed the meeting he told the group: "Today, we have tried to draw a picture of our future. We've talked about the future and our vision. The discussions today were great, and I want to commend you for your effort."

He continued: "We have more work to do, it's going to take all of us, and we have to work on a process and a strategy. We should not have assumed we could come out of here with easy answers, and we didn't. But I will commit to you that I want to take another step and see how far we can get and what this picture will look like by the time we are all done."

The group will continue, and the mayor will be scheduling future meetings.


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