‘Primary job’ creation topic of economic development meeting | TheUnion.com

‘Primary job’ creation topic of economic development meeting

Grass Valley’s economic future could hinge on building more jobs that produce goods and wealth over growth in the service industries, community members said at a Tuesday meeting.

Gil Mathew, President of the Nevada County Economic Resource Council, said at a Tuesday night Grass Valley City Council Town Hall Meeting that the availability of industrial land in the city would directly impact the number of primary jobs that could be created.

“We need to insure we have industrial land available so if someone wants to build a 40,000 square-foot building we’d have the space available,” Mathew said. When he’s looking for industry to move to Nevada County Mathew said he focuses on businesses which can bring new wealth to the area, rather than service industry businesses like restaurants which simply trade dollars among community members.

Regulations and fees undermine growth in the area, said Don Coenen, who owns a Christmas tree farm in the South County.

“We need to stop making revenue by charging more fees,” said Coenen, adding the price for a booth at the county’s fairgrounds was significantly more expensive as fees were tacked on. He said industries like timber and mining could add a significant amount of jobs to the area. “We need to create jobs. We need a broad base for companies here and I’d like to see more industry.”

Councilman Chauncey Poston said identifying land bases for industrial growth is critical as the city moves forward. Three of the city’s four annexations, including a planned industrial park at the SouthHill Village are currently stagnant due to the economy.

Mayor Lisa Swarthout said the special town hall meeting was called to set a plan for Grass Valley’s future when the economy turns around.

“It’s the responsibility of the city to be proactive with how we move forward when things do turn around,” Swarthout said. She mentioned enveloping the Glenbrook Basin into the city’s redevelopment district as one way to stimulate the economy.

About 40 people attended the Tuesday night meeting. For more, check out Thursday’s print edition of The Union.

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