Winnsboro Economic Development Committee is moving forward with plans to hire an economic development coordinator (EDC) for Franklin Parish.

The EDC will be responsible for “implementing strategies and executing plans that support economic growth and vitality of the community,” said Sandra Robinson, Winnsboro Economic Development Committee secretary.

“The committee has begun the application and interview process for the position which is funded by contributions from local businesses, private foundations and public funding,” Robinson said.

The position requires a Bachelor’s degree in business administration, economics, marketing, public administration or urban planning. They prefer candidates with at least five years of office experience and two years of entrepreneurial and economic development experience.

“We have grown, and we have to have a person in charge of networking, going to meetings and selling Winnsboro and Franklin Parish,” Robinson said.

During the Winnsboro Town Council meeting Monday, aldermen tabled an economic development pledge agreement that would allocate money for a coordinator.

“This person will actually do the leg work to promote economic development,” said Mayor Sonny Dumas. “The individual will be involved with members of the city and other institutions.”

The agreement was tabled, so aldermen could come up with a proper amount of money for the coordinator and Winnsboro’s budget. If alderman agree to enter into the agreement, Winnsboro will pay part of the salary for three years.

“The banks, insurance companies, dealerships have all contributed (to the salary),” said Town Council member Eddie Dunn. “I think everybody was trying to contribute something. They’re not looking at no x amount of dollars.”

The hiring of an EDC is part of the group’s five-year strategic plan as required by Louisiana Economic Development and Louisiana Municipal Association to become part of a Development Ready Community (LDRC).

Winnsboro became a “certified” LDRC when Town Council members passed a resolution at their June 15 meeting in support of a proposed five-year strategic plan designed to improve vital local areas such as education, economic development and internet access.

Part of a five-year strategic plan, the group developed five strategic areas which includes education, economic development, telling our story, parks and recreation and broadband.

To establish its focus areas, the group performed a parish-wide questionnaire. More than 160 people took part in the survey.

The survey found quality of life, Delta Community College, La. Hwy 15, available land and buildings, leadership, utilities, Main Street Historic District, law enforcement, churches and its people as local strengths.

The survey found education, trained workforce, local infrastructure, broadband availability, lack of retail and restaurants, job creation and incomplete activity center as local weaknesses.

Broadband internet access for Franklin Parish was the number one focus area after information was compiled from the survey.

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