New city board to recruit business

The Manchester Board of Mayor and Aldermen (BOMA) voted Sept. 3 to appoint the first members to the new Manchester Economic and Community Development Commission. The commission’s regularly scheduled meeting dates and times will be set within the next two weeks.

The board will consist of seven voting and three non-voting members.

BOMA appointed Mike Niederhauser,  Mitch Umbarger, Jeremy Anderson, John Carter Sain, Rebecca French, Ken Huddleston and Teresa Tucker as voting members.

The idea behind including three non-voting members is ensuring the involvement of individuals representing the Manchester Area Chamber of Commerce, the Coffee County Industrial Board and the education field.

The non-voting members are Katy Riddle, director of the chamber of commerce, Brent Parsley, member of the industrial board, and Taylor Rayfield, coordinator of Family Resource at Coffee County Schools.

City officials hope the new board will contribute to the economic growth of the area.

The mission of the ECD is to “develop strategies to ensure our growth and strengthen our community,” said Manchester City Mayor Lonnie Norman.

“I have tried for several years to start the process, and the current BOMA has prioritized a commitment to economic community development in our city,” Norman said.

According to Alderman Ryan French, this is a significant accomplishment for the city.

“In 10 years of being on the board of mayor and aldermen, in my opinion, the vote to create the Manchester Economic and Community Development Commission is by far the most important I have made,” French said.

“Having a chartered ECD commission allows the city leverage tools such as tax increment financing, providing USDA small business loans, and other grants and incentives to help develop our local economy with. These tools can be utilized to recruit retail, entertainment, hotels, and other experiences, along with providing incentives to small businesses to help increase expansion and employment opportunities at the most intimate and impactful of levels.”

The new commission will allow the city to explore entrepreneurial advancement opportunities, such as incubator programs and small business startup grants, added French.

“The fact is that Manchester as a municipality needs these tools at our disposal so that we can pursue growth in a manner that allows us to grow smart,” French said. “This can (be) a win for everyone involved, at all levels of business. I would be remiss if I did not thank the current board of mayor and aldermen for understanding the vast importance this commission means and by putting the advancement of our community in all sectors at the top of our priority list. This has been an idea and dream that I have advocated for over the past eight years and seeing it come to be is pretty rewarding.”