Claremore Daily Progress

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January 31, 2014

Strategic Planning: CIEDA, City discuss future priorities

(Continued)

CLAREMORE —

“There are no buildable lots,” said CIEDA’s Jeff Jensen. “Our executives aren’t living here; we have no housing. We’re losing those people because we have no housing.”
He said that although CIEDA’s mission is attracting jobs, if there is no housing available for the people who will work at those jobs, “it’s not helping us; it’s not helping us with sales tax.”
The participants agreed that opportunities exist in the future with new hotel and restaurant development.
“There is an excitement in the business community,” said Phil Albert, incoming CIEDA chair. “People want to be a part of the vision and growth...that wasn’t there a year ago.”
They also recognized the need to combat inaction.
“We need to finally conquer the Oklahoma Plaza,” Albert said. “We’ve got to see a real conclusion to that project.”
New council member Will DeMier said it’s one of the three questions he is asked over and over by citizens.
“I hear, ‘Why don’t we have a Chick-fil-A?’; ‘Why don’t we have a Panera?’; and ‘What’s going on at Oklahoma Plaza?’” he said.
The group agreed that in order to address the challenges head on, its top priority going forward should be hiring a nationally-recognized executive director for CIEDA, who will be able to make significant headway in bringing industrial, commercial and retail prospects to Claremore.
In the coming weeks, CIEDA’s finance committee will meet to determine a salary and benefits package for the position. Thomas will draft a job description.
The board will then decide how to go about finding a qualified candidate from a national pool.
“We think we can get a better qualified candidate, if they work directly for the city and serve as the executive director of CIEDA,” Jensen said. 

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