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Oregon County seeks economic developer

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Staff Writer

OREGON COUNTY -- Oregon County and the city of Alton and Thayer are currently looking for someone to fill the position of Oregon County economic developer.

According to Presiding Commissioner Leo Warren, the position could be part time or full time. He said the job will require many responsibilities including meeting with community members and city and county officials to assess economic development needs and determine plans of retaining, expanding, and attracting business and industries.

"The position will include researching and writing state and federal grant applications, developing tourism industry as well as revitalizing downtown business districts and other related community development positions," Warren said.

The economic development position was first established in January 1999 when Heather Wakefield Fisher was hired. The city of Thayer applied for and received a grant for the position from the Rural Economic Assistance Program (REAP). In 2001 the position became a county job, with the county and the cities of Alton and Thayer funding the job.

A board was formed that year to oversee the position. It was made up of the council members from both Alton and Thayer and three Oregon County commissioners, Leo Warren, Buddy Wright and John Wrenfrow. Today the three commissioners still hold their board positions.

Richard Haigwood and Bill Young serve on the board from Alton and Allen Deckard and Steve Alford serve on the board from the city of Thayer.

"This job requires a lot of interaction with federal, state, county and city representatives as well as presentations to citizens and elected officials. They must have strong writing and verbal skills. An economic developer for the county must work well individually and as a team member," Warren said.

Wakefield resigned the job in January 2002 to pursue personal interests. The economic development board hired Will Ingram for the position and he stayed until September 2002. In early 2003, Edd Hatten applied for and was hired as the economic developer in the county. Hatten resigned this past summer, also to pursue personal interests. For more information regarding this position, interested persons may call the Oregon County Commissioners Office Mondays and Fridays at 417-778-7475.

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