Help sought to aid economic growth in Wilton

Wilton committee is seeking volunteers to take on effort

WILTON – The Economic Development Committee has devised four areas to help drive economic growth, and is now looking for volunteers to work on them.

The committee has completed the Business Retention and Expansion program under the auspices of the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Expansion.

Over the last few months, community volunteers conducted surveys and discussions with about 60 percent of the town’s businesses. On Feb. 17, Bill Maddocks and Sharon Cowen from the Extension met with the committee, volunteers and other interested people, and presented their findings and recommendations from the surveys.

The report outlines opportunities for improvement, assets and advantages that can be used, and concerns for the future, especially for the many individually owned businesses in town.

The Development Committee recommends four initiatives to move forward and drive economic growth: digital marketing, commercial property matchmaking, developing a Wilton brand and developing a town business plan.

Digital marketing would include creating a space for merchants, historical sites and recreational activities. They would offer a class/workshop on digital commerce and offer a student team to provide support for retail interests, events and attractions.

Commercial matchmaking involves determining what type of businesses to attract and matching them with available properties to diversify the tax base and provide the necessary social services.

To develop a Wilton brand, a review of services and nearby attractions would be made to determine what is unique to the town. Encouraging residents and businesses to take part in the PlanNH charrette scheduled for later this year would help in the development of an authentic, timeless and differentiated brand for the town.

A town business plan would develop a return on investment of proposed projects showing short -and long-term impact that would change the focus from cost containment to revenue generation, define an overall operating model within the restrictions of local government and provide public engagement.

Development Committee Chairman Jen Beck noted “the enthusiastic reception by Wilton residents for working on economic development. We are hoping we can tap into the talent and interest that we know is there.”

The UNH final report is available on the town’s website.

Those interested in helping in any way on any aspect may email ecodev@wiltonnh.org.

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