By COLE REIF - Great Bend Post
The Great Bend Economic Development Board of Directors took shape last November, the new Economic Development Director was hired Feb. 1, and now it is time to really dig in to boost Great Bend’s outlook on eco devo.
The five-member board, that includes Mark Calcara, has been meeting weekly since late last year.
"We have a lot of diverse thoughts but with a common goal to make Great Bend great," said Calcara. "This is going to take a community effort to move us in a direction we want to go."
The Board of Directors went after former Great Bend City Councilmember Jessica Milsap to be the director, and Milsap started work as the director this month.
Calcara said he kept hearing the same advice from several leaders in the economic development industry when trying to hire Great Bend’s new director…hire talent.
"You can train someone that has talent to do the job," said Calcara. "If they have passion, energy, and the skill sets to make it happen...it will work."
Milsap and the board participated in a retreat Thursday to discuss what an economic development department should look like and the typical things the department should work on.
Calcara says the group is working with a few economic development leads including the possibility of landing a national chain real estate agency.
Last September, the City Council voted to create a standalone non-profit organization whose purpose would be to conduct economic development activities. In doing so, the City of Great Bend terminated the agreement for such services from the Great Bend Chamber of Commerce at the end of 2019.