Lincoln City City Councilors Monday evening acted on the old saying, “If there’s no wind, then ROW!” And by that they mean they’re willing to spend some urban renewal funds to get more serious about economic development in Lincoln City.
The council, acting as the town’s urban renewal agency, allocated $56,000 over the next two years to hire who they hope will be a productive cross between a cheerleader and a savvy business manager. Because the Bay Area Merchants Association (BAMA) seems to be the best organized merchants group in the community, whoever is hired will be based at Oregon Coast Community College and will be sponsored mostly by BAMA.
However, the city council gave direction that the economic development manager will be charged with working with other merchants organizations as well, including those found in Nelscott and Oceanlake. And most certainly with the Lincoln City Chamber of Commerce.
The job description of this “part-time” person looks pretty full-time to the untrained eye. Here’s how they describe this person:
A Downtown Manager will work closely with established Merchant Associations, businesses in the other Historic Business Districts, the Visitor and Convention Bureau, regional Economic Development agencies and the Urban Renewal Agency.
Activities of a Downtown Manager may include:
– Establishing and organizing shared objectives between the various areas of town.
– Foster positive relationships as a liaison between businesses, property owners and City
– Market available storefronts.
– Improve the visual impact of the Business Districts.
– Coordinate district events with Business Activities.
The council was told that once BAMA signs on the dotted line on the contract with the city, they can get to work hiring the manager and hopefully start making more progress toward a more coordinated effort to boost commercial activity from one end of Lincoln City to the other.
And part of this effort will involve what’s called a Business Gap Survey. The survey, also funded by urban renewal, will tabulate the breadth and depth of businesses already operating in Lincoln City and then take note of what businesses are not operating within Lincoln City that ought to be. One right off the bat are higher end gourmet restaurants that appeal to higher income residents (retirees, self-employed investors, etc.) who have to travel great distances and usually sleep overnight in the communities that have them. Another business category that appeals to this emerging socio-economic group is more sophisticated live entertainment currently not offered on the coast as stand-alone performances – not affiliated with any other attractions. Higher income resident “imports” and the money they bring was mentioned in a recent Lincoln County Economic Status Report as the fastest growing sector of Lincoln County’s economy – faster than tourism, faster than fishing. Even faster than academics and advance scientific professions, although that could change over the next ten years as OSU builds their new marine science satellite college in Newport. But it all bodes well for the business community to appeal to this growing group of economic heavyweights.