Letter: The rationale for Economic Council in Portsmouth

To the editor:

To the good people of Portsmouth:

Please take a moment to go to the Portsmouth Economic Development Committee (PEDC) website (www.portsmouthriedc.com) and look at the work we have done since September of 2012.

There is the annual report of 2012. This rolled out the seven imperatives. They are “close the gap,” vision, plan, promote, attract, streamline and direct. The 2012 report has the rationale for these imperatives.

This is a “back to basics” approach and a “grassroots” approach using the principles of smart growth and other pertinent economic development information from many sources.

Please also look at the 2013 PEDC Annual Report and all the information under that and especially, the three new initiatives.

The Economic Council idea started with me, approved by the PEDC and is in the process of getting formalized in a transparent manner. The genesis behind it is based on 17 years of observing activity in town, five years on the PEDC and going to scores of Town Council, planning and zoning meetings. I concluded that there are some impediments to economic development in town.

Unfortunately, the town has a reputation of not being business friendly. It is the PEDC goal to change that.

The PEDC conducted two workshops in 2009. One major takeaway was that several people indicated that it was hard for a new business to get started in Portsmouth. The PEDC goal is to change that, too.

The challenge for the PEDC was how to fix the impediments to economic development, to change the negative image and to make it easier for new businesses to get started. Because of several factors, a common theme was we were not communicating well.

That is the rationale for the Economic Council. One of the proposed primary purposes of the Economic Council is to exchange timely economic development information between the townspeople, the Town Council, town administrator, town planner, director of business development, the PEDC, the Planning Board, the Zoning Board, the Design Review Board, the building inspector, the fire chief, police chief, DPW director, water board, harbormaster and all other stakeholders.

The details are to be worked out. We will present a plan to the town council in the fall.

Ray Berberick

Portsmouth

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