MSDC board discusses direction for economic development efforts

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Marshall-Saline Development Corporation is about to publish its new strategic plan, which organization officals say represents the direction the economic development organization wants to move in.

Board member Gene Fangmann said the plan isn't about goals and achievements but general directions.

Interim Director Bill Riggins said, "Saline County has been going downhill for about 100 years and I want to see Saline County turn around. (That means) drawing more productive people to Saline County."

The steering committee recommended five focus areas: attracting new industry, retail and commercial development, expand local industry, create homegrown business and retirement industry development.

The MSDC board members did not offer quantifiable benchmarks how success will be defined in its strategic plan, but Riggins said quality of life is important.

In furtherance of the organizations strategic plan, the board voted to table the search for a new executive director for several months.

Riggins has served as interim executive director since Roy Hunter's retirement on April 1.

At Tuesday's board meeting, Riggins informed the board that he wasn't going to follow the approved budget.

"If I don't hear any objections from the board, we're not going to follow that budget," Riggins said. "I found out real quick you can't get anything done sitting behind a desk, you have to go out and meet people. I'm going to be gone a lot more, traveling. ... We're not going to run in the red, but we're going to shift a lot of funds around."

President Jene Crook suggested tabling the search for a new executive director for several months.

"My feeling is that maybe we should let the process gel another month or two or three unless Bill throws up his hands and says, 'I want out,'" Crook said.

In other business, Riggins informed the board that project Slice notified MSDC that Marshall did not make the final cut due to utility costs. Project Janis is still reviewing site locations and a new project dubbed "Cornerstone" was opened this week, Riggins said.

Contact Patrick Nolan at

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  • GREAT! Way to go Bill!!!!

    -- Posted by KW on Tue, Apr 12, 2011, at 1:01 PM
  • Well said, "productive people", that is so true.

    -- Posted by mu-grad on Tue, Apr 12, 2011, at 1:59 PM
  • Ladies and gentlemen I don't know how many of you realize this but we now have hope where before there was none.

    -- Posted by broke-n-busted on Tue, Apr 12, 2011, at 5:45 PM
  • Get out from behind the desk and work to bring in business? Who would have thought?

    -- Posted by mtownresident on Tue, Apr 12, 2011, at 9:43 PM
  • I wouldn't get too carried away just yet. Talking is the easy part. As for significant "industry"...I'll believe it when I see it. I'm guessing that Con Agra will have the final say on that.

    -- Posted by outsider on Tue, Apr 12, 2011, at 11:33 PM
  • Anyone interested in helping Saline County thrive should read "Boomtown USA," by Jack Schultz. Schultz was in Marshall in 2008 as part of the mayor's Poverty Summit. Another excellent source for information about rural development is the Heartland Center for Leadership Development at

    -- Posted by Kathy Fairchild on Wed, Apr 13, 2011, at 6:39 AM
  • Least someone is getting out and trying to do something. I don't see it doing much good, but it is really nice to see the effort being thrown out there!

    -- Posted by oldschool17 on Wed, Apr 13, 2011, at 7:50 AM
  • oldschool17: I hope that you will be pleasantly surprised in the future. Zero effort gets zero results. Throwing up your hands in frustration and declaring it "won't do any good" guarantees success will not be yours.

    If, on the other hand, people get involved and get moving, extraordinary progress can be the result. Let's hope for that and cheer these guys on. On second thought, let's get involved!

    -- Posted by Kathy Fairchild on Wed, Apr 13, 2011, at 8:18 AM
  • I'd also question the "going downhill for 100 years" statement. I've lived here for 60+ and would respectfully disagree. I'm pretty sure my 96 year old mother would disagree also. Is Mr. Riggins a Saline County native?

    -- Posted by outsider on Wed, Apr 13, 2011, at 9:53 AM
  • Does MSDC Board look like the community we live in????

    Can it LOOK like the our community?

    If yes, how and what to do?

    Mirroring the community may add the ingredient necessary for successful county development.

    -- Posted by CWilli on Wed, Apr 13, 2011, at 10:53 AM
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