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City Commission/EDAB Joint Work Session Minutes - February 8, 2022

Present Mayor Phil Anderson; Commissioners Marty Sullivan, Sheila DeCiccio and Todd Weaver; City Manager Randy Knight; Division Director of OMB Peter Moore; Assistant Division Director Economic Development/CRA Kyle Dudgeon; City Clerk Rene Cranis.

Economic Development Board Members: Bill Segal, Tracy Liffey, Michael Dick, Betsy Gardner-Eckbert, Drew Madsen, Sarah Grafton, and Ginny Enstad.

Absent: Commissioner CarolynCooper

1) Call to Order Mayor Anderson called the meeting to order at 8:15 a.m.

2) Discussion Item(s) a. EDAB Priorities Mayor Anderson outlined the agenda beginning with general comments and then discussion of the four focus areas provided by staff in the Plans/Goals/Strategies Action Sheet (attached). He read different definitions of economic development which show the common purpose to enhance the prosperity and quality of life for residents or for those living in the area.

Discussion followed on the definition and purpose of economic development including encouragement of private investment, focus on and support of existing local businesses, diversification of businesses/industry.

Commissioner DeCiccio stated that the board needs direction from the commission and would like to understand what the commission thinks the role of the board should be. Mr. Segal stated the board is ready to carry out the Commission's vision, but the Commission needs to define the board’s vision and goals.

Mayor Anderson stated he feels this joint discussion is to determine the effort and vision of economic development in Winter Park. They discussed past recommendations made by the board. Commissioner DeCiccio noted that previous recommendations were the result of the pandemic.

Ms. Grafton said she feels the biggest role is marketing and attracting new businesses, retaining existing businesses and entrepreneur development. She stated that the city was in a reactionary role during the pandemic, but she would like to see some of these efforts moved forward.

Commissioner Weaver agreed and spoke about the challenges for new businesses with high rent in the city and suggested the Old Library may be an opportunity for an incubator small business as well as Progress Point.

Commissioner Sullivan agreed with repurposing the Old Library for start-up businesses and that EDAB could provide input how the Old Library could be used to stimulate entrepreneurial efforts. Mayor Anderson feels commerce is more about what the people are doing and less about the building.

Ms. Liffey asked if a strategic plan has been developed for all the neighborhoods that make up Winter Park. She stated that the city has multiple areas that can be purposed for a variety of things and asked what the strategic plan is for downtown vs. Orange Avenue vs. 17-92 and the different neighborhoods that. Mayor Anderson stated that the purpose of this discussion is to begin to develop that strategic Plan.

Ms. Gardner Eckbert stated that the strategic plan starts with a vision and setting something that is specific and actionable and that timebound is critical. She gave examples of ways to craft a vision and spoke about how the pandemic exposed weaknesses and strengths of the economy and considerations for future economic development.

Mayor Anderson reviewed the Plans/Goals/Strategies action sheet provided by staff. He stated that Focus Area 1 is about collecting data, but is missing clarity on how the data would be collected and used. He stated that Focus Areas 2, 3, and 4 are well-done and clear but there are opportunities for marketing and branding and would like to discuss industry trends.

Commissioner DeCiccio stated researching industry trends is the responsibility of staff and the information they provide can help the board to move forward. She feels the board needs to move forward with Focus Areas 2, 3, and 4. Mayor Anderson agreed and stated he would like the setting of the vision to be a collaborative effort with the board.

Mr. Segal stated that the board needs to understand what the Commission is looking for and the role of the Board as opposed to staff’s role.

Commissioner Sullivan reiterated that there is a variety of businesses throughout the city and economic trends will impact specific areas differently and feels impacts should be considered when aligning the vision for different economic areas.

Mr. Madsen stated that economic development is a means to an end and that there are projects the board could be working on for the future. Discussion followed on the steps to define a vision.

Commissioner Weaver noted that there is a need for lower-cost housing and transportation for lower-income workers. Ms. Gardener Eckbert said that economic development should include workforce and workforce housing.

Discussion followed on the Focus Areas in the ActionPlan. Mr. Dudgeon stated that the marketing elements in Focus Area 2 carry over to Focus Area 3. He said the business welcome document is complete and he is looking forward to receiving feedback.

Mayor Anderson suggested adapting old branding exercises to new social media in Focus Area 2 and that in Focus Area 4, EDAB is the standing committee to respond in a crisis. Discussion followed on the parameters of Focus Area 4.

Mayor Anderson stated that he does not feel the city’s brand needs to be changed but the message needs to be recrafted. Discussion followed on the city’s brand. Mayor Anderson asked the board to re-read the 2011 study and provide feedback.

Commissioner Weaver left the meeting at 9:19 a.m.

Ms. Gardner Eckbert stressed the importance of creating resilience and capacity models for times of crisis and explained how the chamber adjusted its model to reach out to people and drive business during the pandemic. She stated that having a cohesive brand to present in the digital world as part of the strategic plan would help the city’s restaurants and retailers.

Mayor Anderson asked the commission if they would like to reconsider a version of what was proposed by the board with clarity on the purpose. Commissioner DeCiccio agreed and stated she would like the board to bring the recommendation forward.

Ms. Gardner Eckbert explained how place-branding can benefit the city and Commissioner DeCiccio suggested EDAB give a presentation on place-branding to the commission. Discussion followed on the purpose and goal of place-branding followed by discussion of funding for the marketing effort, areas to be targeted for branding and the expectations and goal of the branding campaign.

After discussion, consensus was for the board to present a branding proposal to the commission. Commissioner Sullivan asked that the proposal include the target industries and cross industries that would benefit from the branding and its purpose. Mayor Anderson requested the board provide revision of organization brought forward and to look at the 2011 study to determine if the study is a good foundation to start with or if a new study is needed. He added that the board has consensus to consider this topic and make it a part of the resilience plan. Commissioner DeCiccio suggested the board provide a budget with its presentation so the item can be moved forward.

Mayor Anderson stated that he feels there is value to having some type of a framework, vision, and strategic plan and suggested having a high-level work session to discuss that topic. In response to Mayor Anderson’s request for a sub-group to participate in the work session, Drew Madsen, Betsy Gardner-Eckbert, Commissioner DeCiccio and Mayor Anderson agreed to comprise the sub-group. Staff will coordinate a time for the work session.

Commissioner Sullivan stated that he would like to learn more about the different programs before allocating funds. Discussion followed on funding.

Mayor Anderson addressed Focus Area1 and stated he would like to expand the data collection to collecting data for a defined purpose which includes segments to target, segments that are over-targeted, and defining where a difference can be made.

Discussion followed on programs, budget, and data collection metrics.

The meeting adjourned at 9:55 a.m.

Posted to on March 7, 2022.

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