The Dawson County Development Authority and the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce will officially join forces in May with a new multi-year partnership, signaling a new era for the authority, which has seen its share of ups and downs the past several years.
Brian Trapnell, chair of the authority, presented an update on the partnership during the board of commissioners voting session April 5.
Trapnell explained that after former Executive Director Charlie Auvermann and his assistant Mary Simmons left the authority in September of last year, the authority contracted with the chamber of commerce to help take care of any administrative functions. That contract will run through April 30.
The services provided by the chamber range from answering phones to managing projects and other day to day tasks.
The authority board met March 27 to approve the new three-year partnership, which will go into effect May 1.
One of the major items to come out of the partnership is the position of Director of Economic Development, which will replace the role of executive director.
That person will be a direct employee of the chamber of commerce, but the development authority board will play a role in the hiring and firing of that person.
The development authority board was also looking at renovating the basement of the chamber building to fit their needs, but Trapnell said the cost was ultimately too high to accommodate both accessibility and visibility issues.
He presented a new plan to utilize the main floor of the chamber’s building, which was formerly a model home.
“We feel like this particular approach very much is in line with our goals of being ADA compliant, putting in place premier office space for the development of our community (and) it creates team cohesion with the chamber,” Trapnell said. “It provides for improved customer service because as long as the chamber is open, there will be someone there to answer the phone. Historically we have not been able to achieve that objective with our past staff structure. Equally important, we believe it is a more efficient management of our resources.”
Trapnell said the authority will bid the work sometime in April and hope to build in June.
“We're excited about the opportunity, we think it's a great step forward and really just a step across the street,” Trapnell said.
The development authority currently owns office space on Prominence Drive.