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Butler planning for the future

April 5th, 2018

DeKalb County Economic Development Partnership

A Butler City Councilman hopes to gather ideas for ways to develop a community vision.

Jerry Eldridge, R-District 1, has invited civic, business and industrial leaders to a meeting Thursday at 10 a.m. in the City Council chamber room at Butler City Hall, 215 S. Broadway.

Eldridge said he and City Planner Steve Bingham have had discussions for some time about what it would take to make Butler “a destination place, not something that you would drive through.”

Communities in and around DeKalb County are being aggressive to that end, and Eldridge hopes the meeting will start a similar effort in Butler.

Eldridge, who is Butler’s representative in the DeKalb Chamber Partnership, said he has invited business and industry leaders to the meeting, as well as state legislators and economic development and chamber officials.

“If we’re passive on economic development and revitalization, then we’re going to continue to be a pass-through, which we don’t want,” Eldridge said. “We want people to come here and stay here. If you want people to stay here, you have to provide the amenities and the products people want.”

Businesses, housing and attractions are some of the ways to do that, he said.

“I just don’t want Butler to be the last town standing,” Eldridge said. “I just took it upon myself to do it.” Comments from fellow city officials and business leaders have been very encouraging, he added.
In a letter inviting business leaders to the meeting, Eldridge wrote: “This meeting is designed to bring together some of Butler’s civic and business leaders in an effort to discuss potential visionary ideas and develop actions plans that are intended to promote future growth and opportunities for the City of Butler as well as meet the current and future needs of our business community.

“The City of Butler does not know what its business leaders need from the city that would allow them to thrive, remain competitive, be successful and continue to grow their products and services in the years to come,” Eldridge’s letter continued. “Your input, insights, vision and knowledge will be invaluable as we look together to the future.”

Eldridge anticipates holding a similar meeting in the future to gather input from Butler residents. He hopes future meetings can take place on a monthly basis with the creation of committees of community and business leaders to come up with ideas and insight.

“My goal is to develop specifics and turn the talk into action,” he said. “My goal is to bring as many people together (as possible) and brainstorm and start moving the discussions past good intentions.

“If we want Butler to grow, we can’t sit around and wait for something to happen,” Eldridge said. “I want more than the status quo. We have to make it happen. We have to move discussions past good intentions.”

Original article by Jeff Jones for KPC Media - The Star

Categories Regional Leadership