With the mission of recruiting new business as well as maintaining existing businesses in Oakdale, city officials have established a blue ribbon committee of local business and city leaders that have begun moving forward with an economic game plan.
Oakdale City Manager Bryan Whitemyer, along with Councilman Farrell Jackson both said they were excited about the new Economic Development Ad Hoc Committee that was formed and had its first meeting on Friday, Nov 15.
“I think the diversity of the membership and ideas that will be formulated will be paramount to the future of Oakdale,” said Whitemyer. “I like the energy of the group.”
Jackson said the committee was formed to be small but diverse for function and speed.
In addition to Whitemyer and Jackson, the committee consists of Councilman Don Petersen, a small business owner himself; Erich Haidlen, representing one of the city’s largest sales tax contributors; Oak Valley Hospital CEO John McCormick, on behalf of the city’s largest employer; Justin Ribeiro of Stickman Ventures for a high-tech voice, Chamber of Commerce CEO Mary Guardiola, and Bob Taylor to represent tourism.
“By talking to businesses in the community, will help us understand what they’re going to need,” said Whitemyer. “It runs the gamut from large industry to small retail, restaurants, etcetera.”
Whitemyer pointed to one of the topics headed by Ribeiro; a possible city-wide Wi-Fi.
“A lot of businesses nowadays rely on the Internet,” Whitemyer said. “The city needs to improve its web presence also.”
Jackson said a subcommittee will meet with existing businesses as an outreach and get the name of the committee out to the business community.
“We’d like to hear what obstacles they are seeing,” Jackson said. “Also, if we can promote suggestions they offer, we definitely will.”
One of the decisions after the first meeting was the formation of a “Red Carpet” team that would be utilized when a potential business shows interest in the City of Oakdale.
Jackson said that a system would be followed giving prospective business representatives a tour of the city, highlighting notable sites.
“We’d be selling ourselves to new businesses,” said Jackson, recalling when a similar process was done to recruit the Sconza Candy Company in 2008. “We’d be pointing out things that would be important for relocating here. There’s much about this city to utilize when it comes to the proximity to the Bay Area as a strength, recreational sites, the schools, and a recognized hospital to name a few.”
Whitemyer said the city has a viable industrial area available and the traffic through town could be looked at as a strength to small outlets.
“It’s important at moving forward to find a way to keep Oakdale money in Oakdale,” said Whitemyer. “It’s also important to get people to come to Oakdale and spend their money here.”
The ad-hoc group plans on holding meetings at least once and possibly twice a month.