The North Kingstown Town Council unanimously approved a new town position, focused in improving and expanding business in town. The new position, an "economic development planner," will be employed under the town's planning department for a 12-month contract position. After the 12-month term, the council will decide whether to extend the position or nix it.
The position, paying between $65,000 to $75,000, would specialize in obtaining grants for the Town of North Kingstown, assist local businesses, identify and develop programs to assist in economic development and more throughout all of North Kingstown.
For the most part, council members favored the move to create such a position, citing that the planning department doesn't have enough personnel to focus on economic development. Additionally, such a position could help rejuvenate business in town, especially in the dormant Post Road Corridor.
"This position could potentially pay for itself," said Council Member Carol Hueston.
Council Member Kerry McKay voiced his doubts that a person would be able to bring about noticeable change in only 12 months. He also was leery about additional costs for such a position, such as travel expenses to attend trade shows and expos.
"A job of this nature cannot be done in one year," said McKay. "This is a two to three year position to be effective."
The council approved the position following the recommendation of the North Kingstown Economic Development Advisory Board. According to Chair Dave Caldwell, Jr., this position will find the "low-hanging fruit" in grants. Also, the creation of such a position allows North Kingstown to be qualified for certain business grants.
According to Town Manager Michael Embury, 10 people have applied and four will be interviewed for the position soon.