BRADENTON — In its first workshop since assuming control of three community redevelopment agencies, the Bradenton City Council inched forward this week with the transition, focusing mostly on creating a new economic development department.
The goal is to create the department and hire an economic development director to work closely with the CRAs and the Bradenton Area Economic Development Council.
City Clerk Carl Callahan is acting economic development director as the city organizational plan comes together. A department head won’t likely be hired until direction is better established.
“The state statues gives us a wide berth for entities that want to do an economic development department,” said Callahan. “It says if we are trying to attract businesses and jobs, we can spend taxpayer money for that and virtually do whatever you want to do to make that happen. But there are more things we are going to have to do to have an economic development department as far as the people and responsibilities. The person the council deems responsible will have the freedom to go out and pursue those options.”