Minden Economic Development Director James Graham was the guest speaker at Thursday's weekly Lions Club Luncheon.

Minden Economic Development Director James Graham was the guest speaker at Thursday’s weekly Lions Club Luncheon.

Graham dished on the work he’s been doing for the city of Minden in the last year and a half, covering everything from the recently-implemented TIF districts to the two boards created by the Minden Economic Development System: the Consortium and Industrial Development Board of Minden.

Graham shared his thoughts on how to develop Minden through the TIF districts. The four districts allow business to charge an additional two percent sales tax, with the revenue from that two percent going towards that business’ TIF district to assist with any infrastructure needs and to lure business. A map of the four districts and a general overview of Graham’s economic development strategy can be found at developminden.com.

Graham mentioned another project he is working towards: bringing fiber-optic technology to Camp Minden. Fiber-optic cables carry digital information at high speeds by sending pulses of light through a tiny glass or plastic filament. On the receiving end of a fiber-optic transmission, light pulses are translated
into binary values that can be read by computers.

“It’s just as important as a road or a bridge,” Graham said. “We are seeking a franchise agreement with a vendor at Camp Minden. The vendor we are seeking would value both the city of Minden and Camp Minden.”

Graham also presented a video, that can be seen on the economic development website, that displays how prominent local business like Clement Industries and Madden Contracting started small and grew, a formula Graham believes can be successful right now. The video also promoted business growth along Minden’s under-utilized Interstate 20 corridor.

Some in attendance questioned Graham, asking for local success stories as proof of his plan’s success from his first year and a half as economic development director.

Graham cited Geaux Fresh, a new hot spot serving healthy meals and desserts on Broadway in Minden. Lion Lee Estabrook said he was looking for something, “a little bigger than that,” to which Graham replied, “Give me about two weeks.”