Sarah Lamping hit the ground running when she began her new job as community development director Oct. 14. On Nov. 1 she told Batesville Economic Development Commission members about her first three weeks.
Lamping attended an Oct. 18 Southeast Indiana Small Business Development Center “Saving Small Towns” seminar in Madison. “It showed me all these services we have available to us.” She and Batesville Area Chamber of Commerce director Melissa Tucker listened to Michael Wilcox of the Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service speak about “Cultivating Entrepreneurship at a Small Town Level.” She will approach him “to see if there’s some way we could partner.”
According to her, “We’re trying to revitalize the Main Street program” in Batesville. At the SISBDC workshop, she met with director Pat Krider of the nationally-accredited Lawrenceburg Main Street, which is “very active.” Sheridan Main Street leaders also briefed attendees about their successes. Later she had a conference call with Indiana Main Street program manager Shae Kmicikewycz about national resources for the Batesville effort.
Because the group has been dormant for awhile, Lamping has been reading Batesville Main Street minutes “trying to find out who the players are.” President Debbie Enneking and Secretary Deanna Hookway have agreed to stay on. Lamping will contact other board members about their willingness to participate in the program going forward. “We’re going to be having a Ladies Night Out Nov. 15.”
“I’ve had an opportunity to meet with a lot of different groups,” she observed. To discover community assets, the director attended an October Batesville chamber board meeting and learned more about Batesville Aviation Services, the now public airport, which she said has “a great future.” Lamping also went to the Southeastern Indiana YMCA dinner celebrating volunteers who raised funds for its Strong Kids campaign, which helps disadvantaged families and individuals participate in Y activities.
She found out Purdue University wants to do a feasibility study about creating pockets throughout the state that can serve as food hubs in a national emergency. If the food distribution process was somehow interrupted, “how long can we sustain ourselves” with locally-grown produce and meats? Mayor Rick Fledderman said he, Lamping and Food and Growers Association of Laughery Valley and Environs leaders met with two Indiana Department of Agriculture officials. He reported, “We’ve got a pretty impressive group here.” The mayor said there might be an opportunity for a Batesville business targeting local foods.
Lamping and city consultant Vicki Kellerman went to a trade and investment seminar in Indianapolis Oct. 29. “Vicki introduced me to a lot of different people,” which should prove useful in the future.
The community development director also was involved during the Chinese delegation visit Oct. 31. When Lamping drove the visitors to Batesville High School to view public school life and through Oldenburg, they marveled at the lack of pollution and wanted to know how to get industries to cooperate. Lamping reported the whirlwind tour “went very well from a community, industrial, educational and health care standpoint. I think they were extremely impressed.”
She also enrolled in a Ball State University economic development course slated for early 2014. Future plans include research for the proposed shell building and organizing downtown’s Dec. 5 Light up the Night.
Lamping concluded, “I really enjoy what I’m doing so far.”
Debbie Blank can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 812-934-4343, Ext. 113.