The Community Forum for Economic Development met on May 20th to discuss the outcomes of breakout sessions from last month’s Third Annual Community Forum on Economic Development: Uniting to Improve Our Quality of Life. There were many positive ideas generated at all the breakout sessions; I had attended two of the breakout sessions at the event in April, Cool Cities: Local Action to Solve Global Warming One City at a Time and Blue-Green Jobs: Creating Jobs with New Technologies. During the Cool Cities session, I was able to put the East Race hydro project on the agenda. As a result, this project came up on the list at the May meeting.

During the comment portion of the meeting, I expressed my interest in the hydro project and desire to follow-up with this on the Cool Cities committee.  Following the meeting, three individuals spoke with me about their interest and ideas for following up with the hydro project. A union plumber asked me about presenting my slide presentation to the Building Trades meeting to elicit “blue” (labor) support for the project. Another person suggested he may know who to contact at Memorial Hospital to request funding support. Yet another individual noted he knew two individuals who had done extensive research on hydro power on the St Joe River and who may be of assistance.  I intend to follow-up with all three of these people.

Mission Statement of the Community Forum for Economic Development:

The Community Forum seeks to promote economic development, the process of increasing the living standards and opportunities for area residents. We believe that our tax resources are best used to improve the quality of life in our community, and that this is also the best way to encourage business investment. Subsidized business investment should provide community benefits and be directed to areas of need. Through education, organizing and advocacy, we hope to open up the economic development process to greater democratic participation.