Robins creates economic development group

Economic development committee worked closely with city to complete comprehensive plan

Published: December 16 2013 | 2:39 pm - Updated: 29 March 2014 | 12:55 am in
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A new organization, Robins Economic Development Initiative (REDI), has been created to focus on the Linn County community's economic development needs.

"REDI is sensitive to keeping a balance between the growth of the city and economic growth," said Dean Helander, chairman of REDI.

The city of Robins tasked an exploratory committee in 2012 to discuss and develop a plan for economic and business development. The 3,000-person town does not have a separate chamber of commerce or similar organization to promote the city or its business interests.

The economic development committee worked closely with the city to complete a comprehensive plan. It also  participated in a 2012 survey that gathered residents' thoughts and opinions for Robins' future growth.

"The survey found that residents wanted small town character, but they also wanted some economic development," including a non-franchise restaurant in Robins Square, Helander said.

The results of the 2020 Comprehensive Plan and the work of the economic development committee led to the creation of REDI.

The economic development group still has some work to do, including hiring a director, finding space to house the organization and building a website.

Helander said the board hopes to hire a director by the end of the first quarter of 2014 and a website should by up and running by spring 2014.

The REDI website is being built in conjunction with a redesign of the city of Robins website — both will be similar in design and will have links to the other.

The core group of the committee has agreed to serve as the board of directors. They include Greg Ervin, Michael Flynn, Dean Helander, Timothy Larson, Michael Peebler, Richard Pilcher and Duane Wood.

The city of Robins will provide seed money to launch REDI. The group has asked for $135,000, said Lori Pickart, Robins city clerk.

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