BEDC NOW INCORPORATED
Bartow Economic Development Council, Inc. members: Brian Hinton, Bartow Community Healthcare Foundation, Inc.; Ken Riley, Eastside Positive Action Committee; Dawn Decaminada, Polk County Board of County Commissioners; James F. Clements, Bartow City Commission; Philip Minden, BayCare Bartow Regional Medical Center; Rob Clancey, Polk State College; Laura Simpson, Main Street Bartow; Doug Conner, Clear Springs Land Company; Drew Crawford, Boswell & Dunlap, LLP; and Jeff Clark, Greater Bartow Chamber of Commerce.
Community leaders representing ten major stakeholders in Bartow attended the inaugural meeting of the Bartow Economic Development Council, Inc. (BEDC) this morning at Bartow City Hall. The new non-profit corporation will function as an collaborative body dedicated to the economic development of the greater Bartow area.
The new entity began as an initiative presented to the Bartow City Commission in early 2012 that was the result of a project by the Chamber of Commerce Committee of 100. It envisioned establishment of an economic development body, and the development of an economic development plan focused specifically on Bartow.
Since then, economic conditions and the City’s financial position have continued to improve. A number of tools have been developed and implemented by the City to facilitate the success of a focused economic development initiative. In addition, the Chamber of Commerce has recently reorganized its structure and redirected its resources toward its own core mission of economic development.
A proposed composition for the BEDC was developed in the fall of 2015, and was subsequently approved by both the Bartow City Commission and the Greater Bartow Chamber of Commerce Board.
The BEDC is comprised of a 12-seat Board of Directors. Ten of the seats have been assigned to representatives of area economic development stakeholders: Bartow Chamber of Commerce, Bartow Community Healthcare Foundation, Bartow Community Redevelopment Agency, BayCare Bartow Regional Medical Center, City of Bartow, Clear Springs Land Company, Eastside Positive Action Committee, Main Street Bartow, Polk County Board of County Commissioners and Polk State College. The remaining two seats have been left open for future appointments to the Board.
Although the City and Bartow Community Redevelopment Agency have appropriated funds to facilitate the initial efforts of the BEDC, the entity will address future revenue generation and expenditure needs as one of its first priorities.