Plant City ponders an economic development commission of its own

July 3, 2015

Dave Nicholson
Plant City Courier
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Local leaders are looking into the possibility of forming an economic development commission for Plant City.
Professional engineer Randy Larson, a former city commissioner, is chairman of a committee looking into the idea. David Sullivan, executive vice president of Platinum Bank, is vice chairman.
Mayor Rick Lott said other cities, including Winter Haven and Lakeland, have formed their own organizations to push for economic development.
“We’re exploring the viability of creating one,” Lott said.
The commission would work to attract new businesses to Plant City, along with encouraging existing businesses to expand here.
The city currently contracts with the Tampa-Hillsborough Economic Development Corp., which has a representative, Adam Myers, who works at City Hall. Rick Homans, president and chief executive officer of the development corporation, said the work load in Plant City is exploding as more and more companies seek to relocate there, including along County Line Road.
“We have offered our complete support to them to act as an advisor or consultant and to help anyway that we can,” he said.
He hopes his agency would work closely with any economic development commission that Plant City creates.
Larson said he has about 20 committee members, and they are just beginning their work.
“We are going into this with no preconceived notions that this will work or it won’t work,” he said.
The commission would be independent of the city and the Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce.
Several business leaders met last week at City Hall with city commissioners to express their approval of the concept of a Plant City economic development commission. A local commission could concentrate its efforts on Plant City, they said.
Larson, who owns a consulting firm, said any local commission would likely be part of the Tampa Hillsborough group. Among other duties, the committee needs to determine if there’s enough financial support for a local economic development commission.
“There’s a lot to be discussed,” he said.
He anticipates his committee will have a recommendation the time the city’s contract with Tampa-Hillsborough Economic Development Corp. expires on Oct. 1.
Twitter: @dnicholsonTBO
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