Indian Trail needs to focus on targeting seven industries, when it comes to economic development. That was the news from consulting firm Sanford Holshouser, in a presentation Tuesday, Nov. 29 to the Indian Trail town council.
Holshouser managing partner Michael Geouge, a former city planner himself, told the council nothing would come easy, as everyone is competing for projects right now.
“In a down economy, the competitive nature for some of the good projects is really high,” Geouge said. “It’s tough. We’ll develop a strategy to be more competitive.”
The firm’s research highlighted the aviation industry, due to the Charlotte Monroe Executive Airport being located nearby. Also research and development, financial operations, energy, light operation, distribution and the plastics industry were targets outlined. Geouge added that a sportsplex themed facility would also be a good project to help build revenue for the town.
“We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel,” Geouge said. “We’ve done a lot of community engagement, we’ve had meetings with business leaders, we’ve done the web based questionnaires where we asked the community the same things.”
Mayor John Quinn asked where the line needed to be drawn, when it comes to recruiting companies, saying he didn’t believe Indian Trail should aggressively go after each and every business out there.
“Do we really need to be like everyone else?” Quinn asked, adding that he didn’t see the benefit in bringing more retail and entertainment to town. Instead, Quinn said the town should focus on the high end commercial jobs. Geouge said first the town needed to understand what kind of companies would be interested in relocating to Indian Trail.
“We’re not saying you need to go for all the smokestacks,” Geouge said. “You need to have a handle on your market data and know what motivates retail and commercial (to come here). The Charlottes of the world have done their due diligence, that’s what Indian Trail has to do now.”
In January, the firm will be back to discuss options with the town council, Town Manager Joe Fivas said, focusing on a more comprehensive discussion on how to move forward.