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Cookeville Working To Fill Expanded Economic Development Role

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Cookeville Working To Fill Expanded Economic Development Role

Cookeville officials looking at resumes to fill the role of Economic Development and Grant Coordinator.

Melinda Keifer continues to assist the city in a part-time role after her 2022 retirement. Community Development Director Jon Ward said the role has been changed to work both on economic opportunities for business and industry as well as grants.

“They’re working with the local industries, the employers of our community on their expansion efforts,” Ward said. “Different issues that may come up that we can help with. We’re facilitating recruitment of new industries. You know, we respond to requests for information, requests for proposals, different consultants from the state of Tennessee. We coordinate a lot of that here out of the city’s office in partnership with our local chamber and the county government as well sometimes.”

With more and more grants available at the state level, Ward said the expanded role can help address those needs. He pointed specifically to grants with the Tennessee Department of Transportation for sidewalk, highways, and other types of projects.

Ward said the role is critical to helping the city and the region continue to grow. One of the areas where Keifer focused was telling the retail story of Cookeville, as a centerpiece of a larger population region. The city worked with an outside consultant to show how many residents from surrounding counties come to Cookeville to eat and shop.

“We’ve had some big wins and successes in those areas lately,” Ward said. “It’s not only industrial economic development but also in our retail areas, recruitment of our retail new stores looking to come here, coordinating that with all the different folks out there looking to do development in our city.”

Ward said he will be looking for a team-oriented person with people skills as well as education and background in the economic development realm. He said an understanding of the different tools available to assist with economic development in a region, such as the Upper Cumberland, would also help.

The job application period closed Monday. Ward said the team will be studying resumes to make a decision in the coming weeks. He said the resumes came from local candidates as well as people across the state and nation.

Though the new staffer will fill some of the roles performed by Keifer, Ward said there’s no replacing a “very valuable member of the team.”


The post Cookeville Working To Fill Expanded Economic Development Role appeared first on News Talk 94.1/AM 1600.