Redefining its mission

MIDCOR develops new strategic plan
for economic development

Changes include a consultant’s report,
new website, name

By Konnie McCollum
Staff Writer

(March 2008) – The Madison-Jefferson County Economic Development Corporation (MIDCOR) is developing a new strategic to generate economic development in the area. The corporation has hired a consultant to develop a strategy that will identify strengths and weaknesses in the area’s economic development efforts and offer suggestions for economic development growth. A possible name change and a website update are also ways MIDCOR is looking to maximize efforts to attract economic development to the area, officials said.

Corey Murphy

Corey Murphy

“The strategic plan will identify action steps to achieve our objectives,” said MIDCOR Executive Director Corey Murphy. “It gives us the opportunity to broaden the scope of our economic development.”
Tom Ticknor of Winnetka, Ill.-based Ticknor & Associates, is one of North America’s leading independent economic development consultants. He recently spent four days in Madison meeting with business and industry leaders, county and city officials and other community members to get an overall view of what was happening throughout the area.
Ticknor will identify where the community is at the present with regard to economic development and offer suggestions on how to get where it needs to be or where it wants to be, Murphy said.
“We brought in a consultant because sometimes it is good to have an outsider take a look at things and possibly shake things up,” he said. “We want to create the kind of economic environment where if you want to live here you can; if young people want to stay here, good job opportunities will be available.”
The draft of the plan was not yet available at press time, but it was scheduled to be presented Feb. 25 to the MIDCOR Board of Directors.
“We shouldn’t see anything too drastic come out of this effort,” said Murphy, a Mitchell, Ind., native who took over as head of MIDCOR in midyear 2007.
Murphy took control of the reins after former Executive Director David Terrell left for a position in the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs.
Murphy said a few areas to work on in economic development had been identified through the strategic planning project. Among those was the fact that Madison has great strength naturally in attracting retirees to the area but has not actively tried to encourage this trend.
“There appears to be an opportunity here for us to advance this area, but we need to work on what we should do and how we should proceed.”
Another economic development tool Madison needs to work on is to capitalize on the abundance of artisans in the area, he said. “Many communities use arts as an economic tool,” said Murphy. “We really need to look into this.”
Madison Mayor Tim Armstrong said his administration is working closely with MIDCOR. “I want to be very aggressive in attracting business and industry to our area,” said Armstrong. “We also want to establish good relations with the industry here and make sure they stay here.”
In an effort to create stronger business relations, Armstrong and Murphy plan to travel to Japan in early April to meet with industry officials and business leaders. “We are part of a global economy, and we are reaching out,” said Armstrong. “We want to make sure companies know our community is available and ready for business.”
In fact, in an effort to be more competitive, Madison resident Joe Lackner of Celsius has been hired by both MIDCOR and the City of Madison to redesign their websites. Murphy said websites are crucial tools for attracting business. Mark James of Ohio’s E.D. Solutions Inc. is working with Lackner to update the websites. James’ company is nationally known and specializes in websites for economic development companies.
MIDCOR is also looking at a possible name change. One reason is to make it easier for Internet users to find the corporation. “So much research is done over the Internet these days, “said Murphy. “We want to makes things as simple as possible for people to find information about economic possibilities in our community.”
The state-certified “Shovel Ready” Madison Industrial Park is another move by city officials and MIDCOR to make more competitive in attracting business.
The certification is a lengthy paperwork process that identifies sites within the state that have undergone extensive title work, proof of ownership, legal and environmental review and qualify for expedited permitting with state regulatory agencies.
The Madison site is one of only 30 in the state certified “shovel ready.” It is on a special list that allows site selection consultants and businesses to research available commercial and industrial properties that are available for quick development and investment.
“Timing is crucial in business deals,” said Murphy. “Simply put, the certification puts us on a shortlist and provides us a competitive advantage for competing new investment.”
The 62-acre tract of land on the corner of Hutchinson Lane and Shun Pike was purchased by the City of Madison. The Madison Redevelopment Commission gave the city $300,000 for the land, and $500,000 came from Argosy Casino, located in Lawrenceburg, Ind.
MIDCOR is a private nonprofit agency created in 1956 in response to the Jefferson Proving Ground losing 1,600 jobs. It is made up of a board of directors from local business and government. The agency is funded by the City of Madison and Jefferson County and the town of Hanover through contract-for services agreements, and through private contributions.
According to its mission statement, MIDCOR strives to improve the economic climate of Jefferson County, to recruit new industries and to retain and expand existing industries that improve the quality of life in this area.

• For more information, visit: www.Midcor.com.

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