County Administrator’s Suggestions for Tourism, Economic Development Meet Mixed Reactions
12/11/2019- Marinette County has yet to nail down any specific pathways to broaden both marketing and economic development efforts, but talks continue. County Administrator John Lefebvre brought a pair of recommendations on these issues to the Development Committee Tuesday. The first would create a Program Assistant position within the Facilities and Parks Department to specifically assist in the marketing and development of County-owned assets, while the County Administrator’s Office would then also coordinate with regional partners on overall promotion of Marinette County. While some supervisors questioned whether having a singular location for all tourism-related information might be more convenient for visitors, Lefebvre says it hasn’t been effective in the past.
“We can’t seem to get over the hump to find one entity to do one thing for everybody. All of the entities that deal with tourism all have to cooperate. We’ve tried this before- having a tourism person in the county- and we haven’t been successful in bringing everybody under the umbrella to agree ‘this is how we’re going to do tourism.'”
On the community/economic development side of things, Lefebvre proposed contracting out these services to allow the county to select from a multitude of entities with the expertise necessary to complete a wide range of projects. However, the committee expressed they want to see the management of these contracts done in-house by a new Community/Economic Development Coordinator. County Board Chairman Mark Anderson says it’s about establishing a relationship between the County and individual communities and businesses.
“I believe the staff member- a person working for Marinette County- has got to be the answer. Relationships in this field are probably the number one thing. If we would have done something a year ago, the relationships would have already been built with the communities, the businesses. Now if we go out with consultants we’ve got 5, 6, 3, 2, how many different consultants, no relationships are being built and we’re wasting another year before anything gets done.”
The Committee ultimately approved Lefebvre’s proposal for a new Program Assistant for marketing and forwarded that item on to the Infrastructure Committee. They also asked Lefebvre to create a job description for a Community/Economic Development Coordinator and bring that, along with related costs, back to the Development Committee for consideration in January.