El Dorado Inc. members reviewed 2013’s achievement and work during their annual meeting Thursday evening.
The evening began with a panel discussion on the work by the different committees in Inc.
The first to talk was Lance Lechtenberg, EB&I Committee chair.
“We tried to identify businesses Inc. wanted to target to bring to El Dorado,” he said.
Those included warehousing compatible with rail and truck, natural gas refining, professional services/contractors, petrochemical, composites to be used in medical devices and aircraft production and other businesses focused on high-end work.
Looking at opportunities to accomplish this, one of the things they will try to do this year is have a stronger visitation program. They want to be out in front of existing businesses more. They also want to focus on educating local businesses on resources available and evaluate the recommended wage and benefit parameters.
They also want to increase adequate housing and continue to market the positive things El Dorado has to offer, as well as improve the city’s appearance.
One other goal is to continue to improve city, county and state relationships to make sure lines of communication are open.
When asked about how they were going to address city appearance, Linda Jolly, Inc. director, said one way was to look at signs and if the current regulations are being followed. They also want to call for people to be more tidy and continue to see things like the flowers in the downtown.
The next committee to report was the Marketing Committee, chaired by Jennifer Callaway.
She gave an overview of 360eldorado and their Snap! articles, something new added to the El Dorado blog that tells local success stories.
“We feel that the 360eldorado.com Web site is the anchor in the marketing program for all the other marketing we do,” Callaway said. “The Web site puts a professional, cohesive face to our community.”
They also do billboards, print ads, aFacebook page and a fan cam at Butler Community College football games.
Other means of communication include the El Dorado Inc. Informer newsletter, business resource cards and an industrial park billboard, which will have a new image on it this year. They also do special publications and relocation packets.
Next, Ed Gard, chair, gave an update on the Housing Committee and the ad hoc committee.
“It continues to be a critical element in what we do,” he said.
The ad hoc committee was formed in 2013, but they started about three years ago with a housing study.
Page 2 of 2 - They revisited that issue to see what type of housing was really needed.
“This year the ad hoc committee looked at some specific initiatives we could initiate,” he said.
That study showed there are 1,743 rentals and 2,813 owner occupied homes in El Dorado. Of the rentals, only one was rated good+, while 105 were good, 68 were average+, 951 were average, 78 were average- and the rest fell into fair or poor categories.
One thing they found that lacked were three bedroom, two bath rentals.
“What we found we needed wasn’t there,” Gard said.
They did make an application for a moderate income housing grant, but they were first runner up. While they were not funded initially, if one of the top 10 does not complete a project, then El Dorado will be funded. They also will reapply this year.
Gard said they have recently seen a good interest in developing multi-family structures, including the Cohen Esrey proposal for the old middle school and two private developers considering 96- and 14-unit facilities.
Looking at the development of the year, Jolly gave an overview of the more than $9 million in real estate in 2013.
“We had a good year in 2013,” she said.
Major projects included the John K. Fisher re-imaging; Power Grid; the OCI, GCI and SASO remodel; Energy Services’ new facility; the Maclasky Oilfield Service expansion; the GISH building remodel and a remodel in process on Central; Ergon Asphalt expansion; a new Numana facility; Oil Hill Elementary expansion, Dillons remodel; a new Casey’s General Store; the Sonic remodel; Aaron’s remodel getting underway; Young Williams remodel; and a new attorney group.
“It’s nice to see existing businesses continue to make investments in the community,” Jolly said. “We had a great year.”
Next in the meeting, Inc. elected its officers for 2014, including Dave Sundgren as president, Vic Auer as treasurer, Brandon Knowles as secretary and Josh Goodmanson as past president. Sundgren will help select the vice president.
Goodmanson then turned the meeting over to Sundgren.
“A volunteer organization like this, we would not be able to achieve the things we do without a staff who is working here on issues every day,” he said, thanking the staff.
They also recognized Tom Murry, who was retiring from the board. He was a charter member of about 26 years.
“We appreciate, Tom, all that you do for El Dorado,” Sundgren said.
The meeting concluded with a social time.
Julie Clements can be reached at email@example.com.