Tis the season for retail sales! Retail development and the tax increment financing district proposed with the Gateway Commons development was a center piece of discussion in the Greater Owensboro region in 2007. The key element of the proposed development was the expansion of retail in Owensboro.
In 2008 the Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corporation will begin an aggressive strategy to recruit talent to the community. To do this, we have created OwensboroWorks.com as a unique tool to identify people interested in finding employment in the region. We have created an infrastructure to support entrepreneurs and high tech startups that will surely draw talent. We are partnering with the Daviess County Fiscal Court on the expansion of public higher education as a way to attract and retain talented young people. And we will play a key role in the downtown redevelopment activities of the coming year. All are important steps, but ultimately we will succeed only if Owensboro is recognized as a place that people want to live.
In the 21st century economy, the most precious resource is human capital. Traditionally, college graduates moved to the city where they could find work. Now, over two thirds of young adults are more likely to choose the city in which they want to live and THEN find a job. The implication is that Owensboro must be an attractive city, not for the jobs we already have, but for the quality of life it offers.
Enhancing retail is a vital step toward making Owensboro an attractive place to live for the talent we seek to attract. Many people simply will not locate to a town with minimal retail opportunities.
Retail opportunities, like downtown redevelopment, are essential to talent recruitment in Owensboro. It is a critical factor in the successful attraction of doctors, researchers, and entrepreneurs—all key target groups in our economic growth over the next several years.
This work will guide the EDC agenda for 2008. Happy holidays!
by Nick Brake & Madison Silvert