Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

Real news for working families.  An online newspaper

Columbia County News

Columbia County/Lake City Strategic Plan: "Here goes $40,000 floatin' off in the sky"

COLUMBIA COUNTY/LAKE CITY, FL – Historically, not counting restaurants and motels close to Interstate 75, economic development is something that happened in other places like the cities of Gainesville and Ocala, and minimally in Columbia County/Lake City. The last meeting of the Economic Development Advisory Board is an indication why, as downtown business owner and Board member Marc Vann commented that downtown Lake City looks worse today than ever.

Strategic Plan and Downtown Lake City:
"Here goes $40,000 floatin off in the sky"

At the Economic Development Advisory Board (EDAB) meeting earlier this month one of the main topics of conversation was developing another strategic plan for Columbia County.

County Economic Development Director Jessie Quillen

Through the efforts of its mostly ignored $110,000 a year Economic Development Director, Jessie Quillen, Columbia County has obtained a $40,000 state grant to develop a strategic plan.

EDAB member and longtime downtown business owner Marc Vann commented, "Every time I hear strategic plan I say, “Here goes $40,000 floatin’ off in the sky and at the end of the time it’s another piece of paper that got written down and forgotten about.”

Mr. Vann continued, "We’ve done it with the Hospital Board – The City’s a good example – 1976 they did our first master plan downtown. I came home in 79.They done two more since. Did one in the 80’s. We did one we finished up a year and a half or so ago. $250,000 later between the three of them it looks like it did in 79 except it looks a whole lot worse today and I say that as a serious property owner downtown.

EDAB member Marc Vann

Mr. Vann concluded, "At the end of ten months we’re gonna say well these are some of our ideas or where we think we ought a go – then we really haven’t gone any further than when we started."

Economic Development Director Quillen had the idea to solicit and pick new members to be on the strategic plan committee, but the process was hijacked by FPL's Jeff Simmons, also an EDAB member, who decided he would go after folks that were on the long forgotten Rudder Team, the last County failure.

After spending $60,000 plus of taxpayer money, the Rudder Team's strategic plan was approved in February of 2010. No one has seen it since. 

Tomorrow, Part II:
Columbia County Economic Development: "Millions of dollars to pave a road to nowhere"

Comments (to add a comment go here)

This work by the Columbia County Observer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.

Meeting Calendar
No need to be confused - Find links to agendas and where your participation is welcome.

Make a comment • click here •
All comments are displayed at the end of the article and are moderated.