By Diana Bowley, Of the NEWS Staff - DEXTER - Sprucing up the town's main thoroughfare, encouraging home-based and small businesses, and promoting the community as a good place to live were ideas the Town Council generated Thursday to stimulate economic growth. Town Manager Robert Simpson is encouraging municipal leaders to adopt a vision for the town, since the economy has changed with the departure of Dexter Shoe Co.'s manufacturing operations.
"At this point, it's important to explore where we, as a community, want to focus our efforts in respect to economic development," Simpson said Thursday.
If the town wants to continue to aggressively market for manufacturing, then that is where the local energy should be focused, he said. There are other options, including becoming a bedroom community for metropolitan areas, he told the council.
"It is, in part, a bedroom community now and there's nothing wrong with that," Councilor Rick Goodwin said.
Diversification is the key, according to council Chairman Peter Haskell, who suggested that small manufacturers might be the answer.
Councilor Dean Thompson agreed, saying that he would rather have 10 industries employ 20 people than one large industry that employs 500.
The Dexter Development Corp. and the Incubator without Walls is working with home-based and small businesses, according to Councilor Judy Craig. She said more work is needed to provide these businesses with storefronts and the services they need.
Craig said the group is working with two good prospects for Main Street but did not divulge their identities.
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