BUCKHANNON — The once familiar Upshur County Development Authority (UCDA) is now tackling economic growth, taking on the new title of Upshur County Economic Development (UCED).
The UCDA office is located at 21 East Main Street. Executive Director Jennifer Bostian recently sat down with The Record Delta to discuss the office’s plans to help with Upshur County’s economic growth.
According to Oxford Dictionaries, economic growth can be defined as an increase in the amount of goods and services produced per head of the population over a period of time. “When the general price of items rises during inflation, but the value of money stays the same, consumers can buy fewer items and goods for the same monetary sum. On a small scale, inflation can be good for the economy, as it encourages shoppers to buy goods sooner, boosting businesses in the country,” stated Scotsman.com.
One of Bostian’s first tasks upon arriving to the UCDA was to create a strategic plan, which the county had not had for a few years. Along with that plan, the UCDA hosted a business survey. The survey informed the board of the need for marketing communications, both inside and outside of the county.
With this in mind, Bostian’s new goal has been to spread the awareness to local businesses. The UCED’s main priority is to assist local business owners with an economic development issue that may arise. Local business owners or prospective owners can call the office with any questions, concerns or advice.
“If they have an economic development issue or something related to their business or something that we can help with or somebody wants to start a business who do they call,” said Bostian. That is the reasoning behind the push to rebrand the UCDA to the UCED. “We’re not going to become a different organization, we’re just going to rebrand ourselves to the Upshur County Economic Development so, it’s kind of obvious what we do,” continued Bostian. “The development authority doesn’t necessarily say what we do. There are housing authorities and there are all kinds of different organizations that use that nomenclature, so I think it’s going to be a lot clearer, both to businesses inside the county as well as site selectors and businesses outside the county who might be looking for locations.”
One of the main goals or tasks that Bostian and the organization plan to tackle is jobs. Most new jobs are created from existing businesses. “One of the things that we want to do is focus on the health and prosperity of our system businesses,” said Bostian. “That includes workforce development, so helping businesses get the workforce that they need and making sure they have the right skills.”
Bostian also explained that ultimately, the county must have a piece of property to sell in order to get a new business to come in. “We have some marketable properties, but we need to have a nice basket full of product to offer the outside world,” said Bostian. “We also have some challenges, related to housing, that we are watching. It is hard to get people to move here is there are no houses.” The organization will continue to work on ways to best secure the future of Upshur County for years to come.
The UCED is involved with many other local organizations, such as Create Buckhannon, Rotary, Sothern Upshur Business Association (SUBA) and more. For more information, or to ask any questions, call the UCED office at (304) 472-1751, extension 1. Interested parties can also sign up for the UCED newsletter at https://mailchi.mp/16818fec47bc/subscribe-to-our-newsletter.