No funding yet for city's marketing plan

Debbie Blank | The Herald-TribuneOf the city's marketing plan, Sarah Lamping (right, facing away from camera) said, "From a community development standpoint, Steven (Harmeyer) has been very involved in this. From a city standpoint, there has been a lot of discussion between the three groups." Listening are Kevin Campbell and Kevin McGuire, who said, "We absolutely appreciate the efforts and look forward to ongoing conversations."

Sarah Lamping asked Batesville Economic Development Commission members to read the city's fresh marketing plan, called “Telling our Story.” It was written by community development director Steven Harmeyer, Batesville Main Street executive director Tina Longstreth and Batesville Area Chamber of Commerce executive director Maggie Lyon.

Lamping, the Batesville economic development director, explained at the June 21 meeting, "They were prepared to present the marketing plan and do the ask for some funding. We all know there is no funding available at this time. ... They have prepared a pretty comprehensive plan … for when funding is available."

She emphasized city officials should lead the marketing effort. Harmeyer has been serving as a liaison between the city and the two groups.

BEDC President Kevin McGuire agreed with Lamping, "You’re right, with the shell building payment there are not the dollars we’d like to have available for this." He wondered if the city should lead the initiative or fund it. He wanted to get references for the handful of marketing firms mentioned in the plan and ask leaders of other communities how the firms assisted them.

Lamping pointed out the city needs to help fund the plan, which will show support when grants are sought. "There needs to be some skin in the game from all the groups."

Member Kevin Campbell wanted specifics on marketing agency fees and whether they would be monthly or a lump sum payment. "There are five or six proposals. Bring us two or three." J.B. Showalter agreed the trio should make a recommendation after vetting agencies being eyed.

Lyon said committee members are still hashing out their roles and what functions they can manage. Those decisions will help narrow down “what we want from the person we will be working with.”

Member Andy Saner said, "I think we need a strategy. There will be some people who will be on board with it” and others not.

Showalter was skeptical that BEDC could lead the marketing effort. "There’s no way we can do that if we meet for an hour a month in a public forum." McGuire noted Lamping and Harmeyer are full-time city employees who work with BEDC and can help shape the plan.

Debbie Blank can be contacted at debbie.blank@batesvilleheraldtribune.com or 812-934-4343, Ext. 113.

More discussion

• With an international prospect among six new leads for the city-owned and for sale shell building at the new Batesville Industrial Park on Merkel Road, Lamping will modify the brochure, using metric measurements.

• After attending a Purdue University presentation on the Southeastern Indiana Regional Planning Commission "State of Broadband" report, she reported, "We’ve got work to do." Close to 30 percent or about 73,200 residents of the nine-county area did not have access to any 25/3 (at least 25 megabits per second download and 3 megabits per second upload) providers. She wants to explore "how we can work regionally, or by county or city to improve the broadband level." The director pointed out, "In the digital age, there are a lot of schools that require internet-based learning," but some students don’t have access to that at home to complete homework.

• Lamping took part in an Indiana Chamber of Commerce Vision 2025 Forum at Honda in Greensburg. The report card shows how the state ranks in four key drivers: outstanding talent, attractive business climate, superior infrastructure and dynamic and creative culture. "It was very clear that regionalism needs to be forming and become more effective in our area if we want to hit some of these objectives."

• Batesville will apply for a 21st Century Talent Region grant as part of the EcO (Economic Opportunities) regional group. Lamping met with Greensburg economic development director Bryan Robbins and One Dearborn President Terri Randall about the benefits of being part of that group.

• Harmeyer is partnering with the chamber and Rotary Club on an Oct. 1 job fair. He wants to provide resources, such as helping job seekers with building better resumes and having professional photos taken. "We had a great turnout" at the last one in 2017.

• With not enough for teens to do, middle and high school students took a quality of life survey. Once it's compiled, he will look for a grant to help fund the winning project.