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Tonight, in the Hill School library, PAID’s new governing body was introduced to the public. Jason Bobst, Pottstown Borough Manager and PAID’s first President ran the meeting.
Basically, most of the meeting was taken up with revisiting what has gone on in the past and talking about where we find ourselves today. Dr. Lindley introduced each board member and gave bullet points about their resume. There are familiar faces and new faces on the 13 member board. The skill sets of the new board are very impressive and should lend themselves to the task at hand; making sure Pottstown has a bright future and realizes its potential.
The big news was about the new Executive Director search. This person will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of PAID and will become the central point of contact for economic development in Pottstown.
I was relieved to learn that an extensive national search is being conducted. I had heard rumors that we might be recycling to fill this position. At this juncture we need the most qualified person possible. It would in fact be better if this person was not from “around here” and would come to Pottstown with a clean slate and fresh ideas. It sounds like the board might feel this way also. Jason told us the job has been posted and we are accepting resumes.
Once a “short list” of candidates emerges, there will be another public part where residents may have the opportunity to hear candidates speak about themselves and the task at hand. I hope so!
Jason said there will be four committees within PAID that will be working on specific tasks. It will be easier to get the smaller committees together than all 13 board members. The committees are marketing/visioning, infrastructure, business and grants/funding. PAID will also be looking for a long-term funding source to make sure the organization is self-sufficient.
We currently have a consultant who is working with PAID until the new Director is hired. We are not fiddling while Rome burns.
A new spirit of cooperation and coordination will hopefully develop from this venture. Pottstown is looking to work with regional and state entities for economic development purposes and marketing. It is hoped that all the factions in Pottstown can finally come together with a unity of vision and purpose.
Jason said one thing Pottstown needs to improve upon is showcasing its successes. I totally agree with that statement. We tend to be our own worst enemy when it comes to civic pride. We need to market, market, market this town, put our best foot forward and smile the whole time! We might have better luck attracting people and business if were positive about POTTSTOWN! What a radical idea.
The meeting was opened up to questions.
Tom Carroll (Schuylkill River Heritage Trail) stated he was concerned there was no representation from MCCC on the board. Tom pointed out the importance of the West Campus to Pottstown and that we should leverage our relationship with MCCC to help achieve mutually beneficial successes. It was pointed out that while MCCC is not now represented on the board, there is room to add representation from MCCC down the road. I hope this happens!
Erika Hornburg-Cooper (Galley School) brought up the arts component in revitalization. The board is definitely aware how important arts and culture are to revitalization, quality of life issues and attracting residents.
Another member of the audience asked about the involvement of the Pottsgroves and Coventries. The answer is we are concentrating on the borough first and then a more regional focus will naturally evolve. I am glad we are concentrating on Pottstown first, for once!
I realize this has taken longer to carry out than many of us were hoping, however it does sound like a great deal of planning and thought have gone into assembling a board and getting a good cross-section of community representation. At last, the Executive Director position is being advertised. It would seem we are now on our way. We wish PAID much success with the task at hand. We will be watching and reporting.
PAID will be using the 2008 Pottstown Economic Development Strategic Plan and the 2009 ULI report to set priorities.
2008 Pottstown Economic Development Strategic Plan: http://www.pottstown.org/PDF/EconomicDevelopmentStrategicPlan.pdf
2009 ULI Report:
Here is the job description for the Executive Director: