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Chamber Supports Budgeted Economic Development Coordinator Position

The principal focus of the Economic Development Coordinator should be to go out and attract business, according to the Chamber.

The focus of the Economic Development Coordinator should be to attract new business to Royal Oak.
The focus of the Economic Development Coordinator should be to attract new business to Royal Oak.
Royal Oak Chamber of Commerce President Mark Schneider offered the Chamber's support of the budgeted economic development coordinator position at the strategic planning session held on Jan 18.

According to the FY2013-2014 adopted budget, the Economic Development Coordinator will work under the supervision of the Director of Community Development providing assistance to businesses contemplating investment and/or growth in the City of Royal Oak and actively recruit new business to Royal Oak.

The position was requested during the city's an 2013 strategic planning session. One year later, this objective has risen to the top of the priorities list.

[Read: Prioritizing Priorities: City Commissioners Rank Goals]

Schneider said the Chamber's position regarding the Economic Development Coordinator was:

  • the position should be a city-wide position 
  • the focus should be principally to attract new business  
  • at a minimum the city should look at who this position is going to report to


Schneider reminded City Commissioners in December they green-lighted a parking deal for Royal Oak-based Vectorform with the intention of keeping the superstar tech company within the city's limits.

"Vectorform isn't a downtown organization. They are moving to the downtown," Schneider said. "That tells the Chamber if we were to focus this position just on the Central Business District or the DDA (Downtown Development Authority), we're missing out on opportunities to recruit businesses to 11 Mile, along Woodward, Campbell Road or the north-end light industrial."

"Also when Vectorform was here, they talked about how when they were in Texas at a trade show or recruiting show, people were blown away to hear that they were in Royal Oak," Schneider said. "That tells me that the principal focus of this position should be to go out and attract business. People shouldn't be blown away by the fact that we have good businesses and good opportunities here in Michigan and specifically in Royal Oak."

Finally, Schneider expressed concern that the current budget has this position reporting to the development director through planning and development.

"This position should have the freedom to make observations when there are other mechanisms in the city that are a hinderance to business. They should be free to talk about those things, make observations, make corrections, without having to worrying about who they report to and so forth," Schneider said. "So the Chamber would ask you to take a clear look at who this person is going to report to and the chain of command for that."
Matt Turner January 24, 2014 at 01:13 PM
If the city needs to hire a Economic Development Coordinator then what is the Director of Community Development doing? And what are the 8 members of the Downtown Development Authority doing for us?
Debbie Campbell January 24, 2014 at 01:44 PM
Will this proposed Economic Development Coordinator position be paid for with Downtown Development Authority funds?
Ray January 24, 2014 at 04:05 PM
Downtown is the epicenter of vacancies. The Downtown Development Authority needs to fund this. Looks like their strategy of mega events and mega entertainment centers is not paying off. Why aren't they fighting to save Barnes and Noble?
Bill Shaw January 24, 2014 at 11:28 PM
I'll wait until this new powerhouse meets with the landlords. When he/she can level the field with building rents I'll give kudo's to the system. Until then, lots of luck!

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