During a work session Monday evening, University of Missouri, City of Boonville, Cooper County and Industrial Development Authority (IDA) officials met to discuss each individual's role in an economic development proposal for the county.
Since Moberly Area Economic Development's contract expired on December 31, the city and county were actively pursuing avenues to assist in development of the area's economy.
The session focused on a collaborative partnership proposal with the University of Missouri and hiring Jim Gann as the facilitator of the economic plan. If approved, the city will award a grant to the university to assist in stimulating the economy of the entire county. In a memorandum from the city, the grant will support university personnel in providing advice and council on matters of economic development including support for entrepreneurial development, support for established business retention and support for business attraction projects.
The partnership will cost the city and county $100,000. $80,000 will be granted to Gann with the rest going towards facilitated costs and the CORE membership.
If the partnership is approved, Gann will initiate programs to improve the entrepreneurial climate, to increase the competitiveness of established businesses and to better position the county for attraction projects. Furthermore, Gann will establish working peer groups around the county and will provide education for area businesses. Gann will also be a liaison with the IDA, Community Foundations and Center for Disease Control (CDC) for economic development projects. He will assist in additional activities to support businesses as well.
"I think it will be a challenge. While being a local, I would not have brought this proposal to the council unless I thought this project could have an exceptionally bright future. I think we will be able to communicate the great things that are in Boonville and bring in the resources of the university. I am very optimistic about what we have," Gann said.
Gann added, his previous experience as a Boonville City Council member has increased his insight, especially since he has also been an individual who has answered to the citizens of Boonville.
"I will get up each morning and put my heart and soul into this," Gann said.
This project will be the first of its kind in the university system.
The final vote lies with the council as discussion continues at the January 6 meeting at the city council chambers on Spring Street.