County’s Three-Star designation provides a boost to its communities

County’s Three-Star designation provides a boost to its communities

Posted: Monday, August 4, 2008 8:38 pm

Woodland Mills Mayor Wade Carrington says he has been assured Obion County’s designation as a Three-Star program participant will give his community’s attempt to secure a much-needed infrastructure grant a “boost up the rungs.” “The Mount Herman Revital-ization Project is a low-income housing program that will help us bring dwellings up to code and provide needed enhancements such as additions and repairs. Some Woodland Mills residents could end up with essentially new housing if we secure the grant,” Carrington said. “And we have been told that the Three-Star program will certainly enhance our opportunity to do so. We’ll know in December whether we have received it or not.” Pat Fligor, who is the Obion County Three-Star coordinator and the county’s director of business development, knows first-hand how important that Three-Star designation can be — and Carrington’s testimony is just one story that could be shared. For that reason, she has worked determinedly to secure the coveted status for the 14th time. She credits the economic and area development prospects afforded by Discovery Park of America as a major boost in this year’s effort to achieve the stellar designation. The program, which is described as a “road map to assist local communities in their effort to achieve excellence in community and economic development,” is based on the Five-Year Asset-Based Strategic Plan which each community must complete and update annually. This plan reflects the development issues of the community and the challenges they face in an ever-changing economic environment. Obion County’s own plan is available online at http://www.obioncounty.org/jedc/jecd_capital.html. The goals of the program include preserving existing employment, creating new employment opportunities, in-creasing Tennessee family income, improving quality of life and creating a strong leadership base. In the initial phase, as a community seeks to join the Three-Star lineup, certification procedures come into play. These include completing formal reviews and evaluation processes conducted by a team of economic and community develoment professionals. With a successful season under their belts, communities must then re-certify annually. This requirment ensures they have “maintained the basic program requirements and added new elements to expand or enhance the development plans,” according to the Three-Star Web site. Review teams evaluate a community’s efforts and make recommendations to the governor, who presents the Three-Star Award to qualifying communities annually. Such a presentation was made on the governor’s behalf by Regional Economic Development Specialist Frankie McCord recently at the Obion County Chamber of Commerce office. Attention to the five-year plan necessitates countless meetings, hours of debate and endless compromises among community leaders to arrive at a place where there are new economic opportunities, improved family income and the development of a strong leadership base — all vital to thriving communities and, thus, well worth the effort, supporters of the program say. With plans made, communities must then work to achieve their goals and it is in this implementation that valuable relationships are established and networking capabilties are strengthened. These enhance a community’s ability to promote itself and attract attention from business and industry in a highly competitive arena. Three-Star communities are also rewarded for their efforts with incentives and grants that address development issues, as Carrington has discovered. Obion County first became a Three-Star community in 1995 and has been recertified each year. The community’s involvement in the program came as the result of a project “adopted” by the first Obion County Leadership class, of which Glenda Chrisp was a member. Mrs. Chrisp is the Union City Main Street director and continues her interest in the program. “Main Street is pleased to participate in the Three-Star program in that we coordinate community development for our area. As director of Main Street Union City, I am extremely proud to have been able to implement Adult Leadership Obion County as part of the Three-Star program,” Mrs. Chrisp says. “Without Main Street, we would not have Three-Star certification, so we are very grateful,” Mrs. Fligor, who is now responsible for the project, adds. Published in The Messenger 8.4.08

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