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The town you help, may be your own

Peabody Economic Development board member

Before I accepted my current position at Legacy Park, I spent some time “checking out” the community. One person told me that the problem with Peabody is that the town hasn’t decided if it wants to live or die. I’ve been here a little more than a year now and I don’t know how anyone could have come to that conclusion.

I was fortunate to have been invited to join the Peabody Economic Development Committee shortly after I arrived. I have been impressed with the group’s energy and willingness to take on issues of significance to the community. Some of the projects have been unsuccessful, a few are still in the works, and some are nearing positive completion.

An unfortunate aspect of much of the work of “Eco Devo” is that confidentiality is important to what we are trying to do. If an initiative fails, a disclosure of the specifics may poison the water for renewed efforts in the future; a premature discussion of an active project may scare away potential business partners, and when an initiative succeeds, we want the business partner to take the lead in the announcement.

Given the lack of news coming out of the Economic Development Committee, it would be easy to come to the conclusion that we aren’t doing anything. Let me assure you that is not the case.

Economic Development can be viewed as two distinct types of activities. Direct activities concentrate on facilitating business development. This involves new and existing businesses, activities focused on one specific business, and broad-based activities that would benefit many businesses.

Another type of activity is indirect economic development. These activities tend to focus more on the general community, but contribute to creating a business-friendly environment.

Members of Peabody Economic Development Committee have taken seriously their task of promoting Peabody while protecting the values and characteristics of the community. Peabody’s growth and future are not the responsibility of our group alone, however. Every resident and former resident with ties to the community plays an important role in this balancing act of growth and stability.

You may be approached about lending a hand to a project or initiative in the future. Please remember — the town you help may be your own.

Last modified Nov. 24, 2009

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