“Making It Work” — The City of Minden has released its economic development strategy to bring in new business and opportunity for its citizens.
The theme, “Making It Work,” encompasses a number of strategies that are designed to offer incentives to business and promotion of Minden. Minden Economic Development Director James Graham says he’s excited about Tuesday’s unveiling of the city’s new industrial development website, www.developminden.com, and promotional video.
“I’m excited for us,” he said. “I’m excited for Minden. It is vital to demonstrate that Minden is good economic development, and our new website will hopefully show them that.”
Mayor Tommy Davis says this has been a long time in coming and has taken at least a year to lay the groundwork to bring business to Minden and south Webster Parish.
“We’ve got several things,” he said. “We’ve got more people that have offered their land up for sale or lease than in forever, really. We’ve got the website, which makes it available to everybody out there in industry. Everybody shops the internet now, so this gives our first impression. I think the video made a good impression too.”
The Webster Parish Convention and Visitors Bureau partnered with the City of Minden and agreed to bear part of the costs in creating part of the economic development incentive packages.
WPCVB Executive Director Lynn Dorsey gave statistics that show why tourism is such an economic development engine. She says just last year alone, visitors outside of Louisiana spent $11.5 billion in tourism dollars.
“2015 was the fourth straight record-breaking year for the Office of Tourism,” she said. “The Louisiana Office of Tourism is an investment that returns more money to the state general fund than any other state agency.”
Tourism is a self-sufficient industry in that the convention and visitors bureau is solely funded by occupancy taxes through hotels and RV parks.
“Our funding is a direct result of visitor spending,” she said.
Jerri Ray de Pingre’, president and CEO of the Minden-South Webster Chamber of Commerce, recognized several city, elected and other officials in attendance and some of those who helped in the partnership with the city.
Graham says education is an important component to economic development. Dianne Clark, interim director of Northwest Louisiana Technical College, who hosted the event, says Graham has worked with the school in a number of ways.
“If it weren’t for the partnerships in this city, Minden would not be what it is,” Clark said. “Today is exciting for a number of reasons. James Graham has been working with us, he believes in us and he’s been trying to help us get connected to industry.”
Graham took the audience through a tour of the website, showing all the information it offers in an eye-appealing package that will answer many questions for prospective developers. And if they still have questions, it gives contact information to real estate agents, the city and Graham’s office.
The promotional video was also unveiled, giving a guided tour of small-town America, our home, Minden. Showing off the city’s current infrastructure to its quaint downtown, the video presented viewers with visuals of the city’s public schools, NWLTC, the industry offered and the “developable” land offered in a number of areas.
Davis expects to expand travel expenses for Graham as it is time to hit the ground running to bring business and industry into Minden, he says, for national or even international travel.
He hesitated to say anything about what is currently in the works, but did say he wanted Graham to be able to go visit anyone who would be interested in making Minden their home.