By ROGER AMSDEN, for THE LACONIA DAILY SUN
LACONIA — The Belknap Economic Development Council held its 25th annual meeting Thursday at Lakes Region Community College and was reminded by outgoing chairman Randy Eifert of Meredith that it was back where it started, with just $1 being provided by Belknap County, as was the case in its very first year.
The council saw its request for $75,000 in funding rejected by the Belknap County Delegation last week with legislators keeping the budget line item alive with just $1 in funding.
The Norman Marsh Leadership Award, which is named in memory of the former Belknap County commissioner who went from skeptic to strong supporter of the organization's goals and who was noted for asking "What have you done today for Belknap County?" was presented to former state Sen. Jeanie Forrester of Meredith. Forrester, who is now chairperson of the New Hampshire Republican Party, last year testified before the delegation in opposition to cuts it was proposing to BEDC funding.
Gracie Cilley of Meredith Village Savings Bank was elected to succeed Eifert as chairman of the board of directors and promised it would be "an exciting year."
She said that she grew up in Laconia where the Colonial Theatre was a big part of her life and that the reality of its being restored and renovated as part of a $15 million project being overseen by the BEDC hits home with her every time she and her husband drive by the theater at night and see the lights on the marquee sign are on.
Eifert said good progress is being made on the community fund drive, which is a major part of the project, with over $1.5 million raised to date. He said that 609 Main Street, which is overseeing the project, hopes to bring the financial package for its completion to the BEDC next month.
He noted that plenty of tax credits were still available for purchase by local businesses.
Taylor Caswell, executive director of the New Hampshire Community Development Finance Authority, said that of the authority's $5 million in tax credits some $1.4 million are being utilized in the Lakes Region.
He said that the authority has $60 million in assets and a full-time staff of 14 and and is working to develop a coordinated strategy for public investment in the entire state.
Other awards presented at the BEDC meeting were the Corporate Soul Award, which was presented to AutoServ in Tilton, which has contributed to some 70 different organizations, including the Boys and Girls Club of the Lakes Region and the Salvation Army, while the Community Impact Award went to Scott Crowder, founder of the Pond Hockey Classic which brings thousands of hockey enthusiasts to Meredith every February.
Belknap Economic Development Council's Norman Marsh Leadership Award was presented to Jeanie Forrester, former New Hampshire Stare Senator from Meredith. Making the presentation were Randy Eifert, left, BEDC chairman, and Chris Kelley, master of ceremonies at the annual meeting. (Roger Amsden/for The Laconia Daily Sun)
Corporate Soul Award was presented at the annual meeting of the Belknap Economic Development Council to the AutoServ dealership in Tilton operated by the Gaudet family. Taking part in the ceremony were Barry Leonard of the Bank of New Hampshire, Andrew Hosmer and Paul Gaudet Jr., of AutoServ and BEDC Chairman Randy Eifert. (Roger Amsden/for The Laconia Daily Sun)
Belknap Economic Development Council's Community Impact Award was presented to Scott Crowder, center, founder of the Pond Hockey Classic which brings thousands of hockey players into Meredith every February. Presenting the award were Chip Kelley, left, master of ceremonies, and Randy Eifert. Right, chairman of the BEDC. (Roger Amsden/for The Laconia Daily Sun)
- Category: Local News
- Hits: 311