By TESA GLASS
MT. VERNON —
City officials are working to increase interest in retail development at the International Council of Shopping Centers conference.
Mayor Mary Jane Chesley, City Manager Ron Neibert and Jefferson County Development Corporation Executive Director Mary Ellen Bechtel traveled to Chicago earlier this week for the conference. The city became a member of the organization in 2007 in an effort to bring additional development to the city.
Since the opening of the newest Interstate 57/64 overpass/interchange, retail developers have been in contact with the city and with the JCDC, according to Bechtel. Last year, Chesley and Neibert said they were committed to updating various retail developers as infrastructure and tax increment finance areas were created for the 800 acres opened by the overpass/interchange.
This year, officials have been armed with updated information on retail with a new publication on Jefferson County, “Retail, Redefining Creativity in Business 2012” which outlines new information and statistics on the county and city.
“When dealing with retail, they need different information than the developers for manufacturing,” Bechtel explained. “The new information is geared specifically to the information retail requires.”
The guide includes information on 1,000 new jobs, $45 million in additional income, a housing growth program, a new high school, new hospital, new overpass/interchange and an aquatic center and Broadway Market coming soon.
“We are alive with new ideas, new programs and new energy,” Bechtel states in the brochure. “We don’t dwell on what is wrong in the world, we craft solutions and opportunities where we live and our success is showing. We are investing in our future and yours — our quality of life and your profitability! We have several large projects driving the job creation and local investment ...”
Bechtel also states local retailers are re-investing in facilities.
“Within the last year, Pizza Hut has built a new facility. Hardees, Arby’s, Applebee’s, Lone Star have upgraded and renovated their facilities. Family Dollar is building a new facility and One Stop Flooring has a $600,000 redevelopment project in Downtown Mt. Vernon. And, we are welcoming Panda Express and Aspen Dental to Mt. Vernon.”
In addition to the new brochure with updates, the trio also took a list of retailers suggested by citizens for inclusion in the businesses of Mt. Vernon. Chesley, Neibert and Bechtel are expected back from the conference on Friday.