GLENN HEIGHTS—Growth takes times and money. The City of Glenn Heights is preparing for that growth. The city council and staff is now making plans to hire a new Economic Development Executive Director.

The re-established Economic Development Executive Director position was approved in August. Glenn Heights City Manager Aretha Ferrell-Benavides said developing an Economic Development Strategic Plan is the first order of business after being agreed upon by the City Council.

The Council discussed overall objectives for the city’s Economic Development at last week’s meeting. Ferrell-Benavides said “I hope to have someone on board in the Economic Development Executive Director’s position by mid-October at the latest.” This is not the city’s first foray into establishing a strong economic development position. There was an Economic Development Director under former City Manager Jackie Lee. That position was later eliminated under City Manager Trudy Lewis. A Deputy City Manager position was created with the intention it would absorb economic development unctions.

Budgeted for the 2016/2017 fiscal year, the Economic Development Executive Director’s salary will be in the $80,000 range. The position will be responsible for developing and overseeing programs to promote development while coordinating redevelopment, business retention, expansion and recruitment in the City. This will be done through marketing, utilization of existing industry support and community-improvement activities.

“We are growing and one of our key objectives is the diversification of our economy,” Ferrell-Benavides said.
Glenn Heights has over 2,000 new homes in the pipeline. “It is time to provide current residents and those buying new homes basic necessities like restaurants, pharmacies, grocery stores even medical facilities,” she relates.

As for how much will get done and how fast after the new position is filled, Ferrell-Benavides concluded “It’s not the quantity it’s the quality. We are not looking for retail and commercial developments just to say we have it. We want the right group to form the right partnerships. Through our bond we have major infrastructure work to do, which will make our city more attractive.”

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