Archive for Thursday, September 4, 2003

Ritter providing economic development with quality leadership

September 4, 2003

De Soto is blessed with many talented citizens. It was doubly blessed that one of those individuals chose to accept the dual position of director of the Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Council, both of which have allowed her to put years of experience in the service of her hometown.
Her predecessors had considerable talents and scored several big successes, but Ritter has brought a greater degree of professionalism to the two positions than the community should rightfully expect. She's thoroughly grounded in the practices and nomenclature of the business from her decade-long tenure with the Southwest Johnson County Economic Development Corp., and subsequent work with the Aquila Economic Development Corp. Ritter also brought contacts that she had developed during that time.
Under her leadership, the city and the Economic Development Corporation produced a targeted industry study that identified the four key growth industries on which the city should focus its attention. The City Council is to consider its recommendations in the near future.
More recently, the Chamber has gone online and produced a brochure to share with those interested in relocating to De Soto. There have been some grumbling of the demographics included in the brochure that considers all those living within a five-mile radius of De Soto's city limits. The brochure was designed to give those businesses and industries interested in locating in De Soto the information they want. We defer to the experts on what that information would be.
More to the point, De Soto needs to do all it can to build commercial bridges to those living on its doorstep. Lenexa is going to have a residential explosion less than three miles from De Soto's eastern limits. Signs giving notice of rezoning hearings are already dotting pastures, a harbinger of things to come.
The opportunity is that this new housing is coming without a large commercial component. De Soto is likely to offer the closest retail outlets to many of these new homes.
It's been stated repeatedly that those living to the east will not look to De Soto for retail possibilities. The city shouldn't accept those easy dismissals. There is a need for serious discussion about how the city can capture retail dollars from the coming rooftops.
The opportunity to tap the commercial potential of nearby residential growth could allow city leaders and residents to better direct De Soto's future growth.
Ritter's early efforts indicate she will do her part.

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