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EDC and City Council work together– overlapping meetings for days to come

By Bev Barr BCC Editor

The City Council and the Economic Development Corporation met for a joint workshop Oct. 11 to hash out some important details about the proposed Best Western Hotel, namely a draft of the contract for the 380-agreement.
Art Crawford, president of the EDC, explained that the 380-agreement must be signed by the end of October in order to be in compliance with other contractual agreements. The challenge for council and board members is that they are just now beginning to flesh-out details of what was described as a “skeleton draft” that needs a lot of work.
In other news, the EDC elected Art Crawford to continue to serve as president of the EDC; Cindy Harrington to serve as vice president, and Laura Davenport to serve as secretary.
The board also discussed and established guidelines for the EDC parking lot and will begin to require a $500 cleaning deposit, returnable if the parking lot is left clean.
Crawford said the public had expressed overwhelming disapproval of the original idea of leasing the hotel's conference room for a year, for no purpose other than a financial incentive for the developer. So Crawford came up with two alternate suggestions instead, which would fulfill the agreement of $240,000 in incentives over a 10-year period, and made motions to:
1. Fund job training for at least one person per year for 10 years; and
2. Fund landscaping, sidewalks, and dark sky-friendly lighting.
The EDC board voted and approved the motions.
Justin Knight represented in his wife, Abby Boyd Knight, in a request for a loan incentive grant for the Mulberry Street Pub and Kitchen. The board approved the request for a loan of $10,000, to be paid back over a period of 3 years at 5 percent interest.
The EDC board approved a request to pay for up to $1,000 for Christmas light repairs.
The board did not approve the city administrator's request for $5,000 to pay a financial advisor. Instead, they asked that the city administrator ask for and provide an itemized description of services rendered.