Helena embraces ShelbyOne
By LAURA BROOKHART / Community Columnist
April Stone and Aubri McLendon from the Greater Shelby County Chamber of Commerce spoke to the Helena Business Association members in early December about ShelbyOne, a visionary business development and support group plan.
ShelbyOne seeks to address the critical challenges and opportunities for all of Shelby County including promoting a master plan for the region, a long-range transportation master plan for the county and building collaboration among the 17 municipalities and unincorporated areas.
Stone told the group that this concept is all – new.
“Everyone will be introduced to this new process and we will be guiding you through it.”
Five-year goals include surveying current and future needs of existing businesses, recruiting new small and retail businesses and creating a minimum of 250 new jobs through targeted recruitment.
In the works are developing a Small Business Guide publication, establishing a Small Business Work Group and Retail Development Task Force, among other aspects of support.
Bob Van Loan, director of HBA, commented, “I think as long as we have a voice, this can be a tool to draw businesses to Helena. If we just sit back and wait and don’t have a definitive plan of the type, size and location of businesses that would make a positive impact on Helena, we lose opportunities. We need some kind of advisor/partner/resource role under this plan to ensure that Helena has a seat at the table and a voice in the decision making.”
Cris Nelson, City Council president, said, “I think the ShelbyOne program would be a good opportunity to tap into the services of professionals that would be unattainable on an individual level. While the monetary commitment is minimal in the big scheme of things and possible benefits, the Helena City Council and Mayor Hall will need to review this as part of the overall necessary expenditures for our city as a whole and what we can afford to do.
“Our budget is very tight this year and we are reviewing every item and having to make some hard decisions on what is necessary for our citizens and the services we provide.”
The finalized city budget is expected after the first of the year.
Laura Brookhart can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.