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Approved Meeting Minutes

January 9th, 2017, 6:30 pm

Ridgefield Economic & Community Development Commission
Small Conference Room
Present: Arnold Light (Chair), Robert DeFalco, John Devine, Paul Levine, John Collins, Alex Karsanidi, Gus Ryer

Guests: Walt Wieland, Ben Morehead, Rob Gorman, John Dunn

Arnold Light called the meeting to order at 6:36 PM

Minutes Taken by Paul Levine

December Minutes were approved. (Motion: John Devine, Second: Paul Levine
1. Representatives of the Ridgefield Masons discussed the plans for staging the 240th celebration of The Battle of Ridgefield, scheduled for April 28-29th on Main Street. We discussed how the ECDC can help market this important event which will bring large numbers of visitors to town and create economic activity for the merchants, Inns and retailers. The ECDC will post on our website and send out press releases digitally to social media sites. It was also suggested that we look for grants to help fund this event.

2. Our Commissioners approved the RECDC 2017 OGSM. A discussion followed on the various points. The main objective of the OGSM is to improve the commercial tax base with economic development focused on an inclusive and coordinated digital strategy that leverages the ECDC website. Next important goal is for the ECDC to strategically coordinate the Towns marketing which to date is non-existent. (See attachment for details of the ECDC’s 2017 OGSM)

3. We will meet with P&Z on January 17th at 7:30 in the Town Hall Annex to first strengthen our relationship with P&Z and to discuss some of the objectives set forth in the OGSM. Chairman Light expressed that he expected all commissioners to attend.

4. We discussed about how the ECDC could help fill commercial space in Ridgefield. One of the suggestions was to form mini-incubators to attract many of the solo-preneurs who work from home into the commercial community. We would have to seek out those landlords who have available space and would be willing to offer low rents for a period of for example 6 months to a year. Because of Gus Ryer’s ties to the commercial real estate community we asked him to see what buildings would lend themselves to the possibility. At our next meeting in February we will hear a presentation from a Ridgefield resident and business owner who has some thoughts he wanted to present to the ECDC about entrepreneurship. Plus we will hear from Nelson Merchan, Business Advisor, Connecticut Small Business Development Center Greater on how his agency can help small businesses get started and to assist existing small business

5. Bob DeFalco urged that all of the commissioners devote some effort to finding other websites to use our new logo as a link to generate traffic on the new ECDC website. He said at the February meeting he will distribute pen drives with the new ECDC logo that can be given to others for incorporation onto their websites.

6. Chairman Light brought up the subject of officers for the ECDC. He was looking for volunteers to fill the position of Vice Chair and Secretary. This will be discussed again at the February meeting.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:40 PM.