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Galt task force to tackle economic development

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Posted: Saturday, March 3, 2012 12:00 am | Updated: 6:25 am, Sat Mar 3, 2012.

The Galt Chamber of Commerce has launched a joint effort with city officials to create a new task force to examine economic development.

Earlier this month, the city council appointed Mayor Barbara Payne and Councilman Mark Crews to represent the city on the new Chamber Economic Development Task Force.

Councilman Randy Shelton said it has been in the works since 2006.

Chamber representatives Terry Parker and Leanne McFaddin have been chosen to oversee the task force and are planning its first public meeting.

"I became involved with an economic task force in the 1990s," McFaddin said. "That body reached out to communities like Sacramento to say, 'We're open for business.'"

But it became no longer viable, and was disbanded and reborn in a direct partnership with the city, she said.

McFaddin, chairwoman of the Galt Planning Commission and a local Realtor, answered a series of questions from reporter Jennifer Bonnett about the new push to revive that effort.

Q: Tell me more about this new task force. What will be its main purpose?

A: To work with our businesses and charity and enhance the economy for Galt and our surrounding areas.

We hope to seek opportunities to develop the local economy through grants, education training, revitalization of Old Town ... whatever we can do to meet the needs of our community.

Q: How will the chamber and city work together?

A: We'll work together with the committee and have on our Web site a link to the city's economic development reports to try to educate people regarding those issues.

The more people know, the better for the community.

We're going to be heavily involved in the restoration of downtown.

We'd also like to work with the school boards and superintendents, especially the high schools, where they have the ag and engineering academies so businesses know there's going to be a pool for jobs.

Q: What is the biggest change you've seen here in the last decade, economically speaking?

A: The effort to bring in some businesses, to make it viable for Walmart to be here. Also, finally getting funding together to build our overpass.

And that's just in the last two years.

Q: There has been a fair amount of economic development in the city in the last year. How can officials keep it going?

A: Through this committee is one way, and just keeping an open forum for people to talk about their opinions.

Q: Whether you like Walmart or not, what will its anticipated opening later this year do for the city's economy?

A: It will be quite nice, quite large for economic development. People are out of work, and Walmart is going to add 300 jobs.

Walmart always brings other businesses. That will help us develop the northeast corridor along Twin Cities Road.

Q: What makes Galt so special, especially for businesses?

A: Our location is perfect. We're smack down in the middle of Stockton and Sacramento, and eight minutes from Lodi. We've got a great little community.

We've always said Galt stands for Great American Little Town. We like to keep that phrase alive.

Contact reporter Jennifer Bonnett at jenniferb@lodinews.com.

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