Economic development was on the minds of McMinnville Breakfast Rotary Club members when Industrial Develop-ment Board director Don Alexander visited the group as guest speaker.
Alexander flipped the usual script by asking a question of the audience: “What would you like to see happen and develop in Warren County, let’s say in the next five-year plan? Tell me the things you would like to see. I value this feedback.”
Dwight O’Neal stated, “I would like to see something that would keep our 20- and 30-year-olds here rather than them leaving.”
Alexander replied, “One of the goals we are looking at from an industrial development standpoint is we want to encourage some modern-day housing. When I say modern-day housing, I’m thinking of things like villages that have walkability to them. I think we have a nice element of housing, from the $250,000 to $350,000 range. If you think about some of the projects we’ve been working on, they have a middle strata of management that we really haven’t addressed where they can live and stay. As a result, we are losing some of those people to our neighboring areas.”
Alexander said millennials aren’t seeing the white picket fence with a yard to mow, because their focus is climbing the corporate ladder.
“Their generation is a little bit different from ours and we need to keep that in mind,” he said. “That’s one of the things I think we can work on and encourage. There is one word I think that keeps some of this from happening. Does anyone know what that word is? It’s sewer. These developers are not going to put in facilities in that close proximity to each other without sewer capability. That limits our area in which we can do that.”
Rachel Killebrew said she’d would like to see more buildings downtown renovate upstairs for apartments and condos.
“You’re making our case for us, Rachel,” said Alexander.
Killebrew added, “We need some kind of incentive to get people to do that in our downtown buildings.”
As long as every building isn’t apartments and condos, Alexander is in favor of that.
“Let’s keep things in balance,” he said. “If we do all the buildings that way, then we’ll get out of balance with just condos and townhouses. Everything, I think, needs to be in balance, but that’s one area that I see we are a little bit out of balance right now. We probably do need more apartments and condos, but keep the balance.”
McMinnville Breakfast Rotary meetings are held at First United Methodist Church on Tuesday mornings at 7 a.m.