Pelican city takes big step, will seek economic development director

By Brent Frazier, mayor City of Pelican Rapids 

Economic development is a term that is thrown around loosely today from national to individual levels thus; economic development has a different meaning to different people and people groups.

Economic development is actually defined as the process by which the economic well-being and quality of life of a nation, region, local community or an individual are improved according to targeted goals and objectives.

At the local level, such as the size of a city the same size of Pelican Rapids, the focus of economic development is not only on the economic, but also the socioeconomic development of the city or community.

Societies are divided into three groups; social, cultural and economic. Therefore, each group has a direct influence on the others.

A family is considered the basic nucleus of a society and therefore the family nucleus is obligated to meet the basic needs of the family members. A few of those needs include; shelter, food protection, education, unification and communication. When these needs are met the family unit prospers and then grows as does the city or community of which the family lives. 

A community’s ancestry and culture patterns go hand-in-hand with how and where its’ citizens gather, shop and dine with the bottom line being where the people spend their money for the needs that are listed above.  

Locally we are aware how cultural factors have a huge effect on the economy of Pelican Rapids and we can see how many different facets within a community can be considered a segment of its’ economic development as a whole. 

In the day and age of which we live, we all know the competitiveness to attract people and businesses to a city or community. When more people and businesses are attracted, there is an economic rise due to the planting, development maturing and harvesting of local dollars. 

This economic development can be a very competitive process among all cities, but especially among medium and smaller cities.  When successful, a city and a community grow the size of their industrial, commercial and population base and more share in the tax base. 

To be a leader in this competitiveness of local economic development, several cities have hired an Economic Development Director whose sole task is to retain and bring more prosperity to the city or community which she or he is hired. 

The person in such a position can have so many more personal connections to the economic and business world when working in such a sole position, than others who labor as volunteers, or others who share their work day doing multiple tasks and wearing several hats. 

Of course this newly created municipal position brings an increase to the city budget due to the new employees’ salary and benefits package.

When at the ‘top of their game,’ an Economic Development Director can bring much economic prosperity to a city or community to therefore pay for the salary and benefits package.

Over the past several years the City of Pelican Rapids has been encouraged by individuals, committees and organizations to ‘step out’ and hire a full-time Economic Development Director. This person would seek and follow through on economic opportunities and accomplishments for the community and City of Pelican Rapids. 

On June 29, 2021 at a Pelican Rapids City Council Meeting, the council by unanimous Yes vote, moved to include an Economic Development Director’s salary and benefits package in the proposed 2022 city budget. 

Over the next several months the council will strategize to see if an Economic Development Director can be hired for the City of Pelican Rapids. 

As a much needed community and city position to make us competitive, this Economic Development Director could help to bring more business and residents to our city and community which would be a benefit for all.