Last week’s economic planning kick-off event at Eagle Rock Distributing drew about 100 residents.
They likely turned out to hear more about CID officials’ ultimate objective of creating 2,000 new jobs by the end of 2013.
The subtle groundwork has already begun with twin blight removal and improved security campaigns, said Stone Mountain CID President Emory Morsberger.
He and other stewards of Stone Mountain’s CID are in the midst of crafting a unique strategic program.
The three-pronged plan, emboldened by grants from the DeKalb County Commission and DeKalb Development Authority, is designed to attract investors, businesses and new jobs to the area, Morsberger said.
“We are working on three different kinds of things to improve the business climate here,” Morsberger said.
The first area of concern addresses improvements to the transportation infrastructure there, particularly roads to accommodate temporary trucking.
“Many of our roads were constructed in the 1960s, when tractor trailers were shorter — 60 feet long from stem to stern,” he said. “Now, they’re 80 feet … and trucks have trouble getting around some of our curves.”
The second cog in the Stone Mountain CID plan deals with rendering the systems currently in place relevant to new business start-ups more effective. The goal is to work with the county to improve and streamline the processes involving business licenses, occupancy permits and zoning codes.
“We want it to be as easy as possible … we want [new and prospective merchants] to come here and stay here, and, hire as many people as possible,” Morsberger said.
The third and final piece of the Stone Mountain CID initiative centers on discerning a more effective marketing campaign for the area.
Stan Watson, one of three DeKalb commissioners present, lauded Morsberger and company’s efforts thus far.
“We, meaning county government — the economic development department especially — and the Chamber of Commerce need to do our research … find out if a CID is the best model to use as a means of [stimulating] economic development and job creation,” Watson said.
One good testing ground would be the Mall at Stonecrest area, he noted.
“During the T-SPLOST debate, people were saying we needed rail from downtown Atlanta to Stonecrest, which could and should be an economic hub,” Watson said. “There is a dire need for economic and job development there … but we need a CID as successful as the one encompassing Stone Mountain Industrial Park to show that that rail is needed.”