EDA works on five-point plan to attract business

  • Chair George Sterling at a Peterborough EDA meeting on Tuesday, July 26, 2016. (Brandon Latham / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Brandon Latham—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript...

  • Peterborough Town Hall on Monday, June 20. (Brandon Latham / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Brandon Latham—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript...

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Wednesday, July 27, 2016 6:19PM

The Peterborough Economic Development Authority met Tuesday morning to discuss moving forward with its five-point plan to attract businesses to the town.

The board hopes that promoting the town’s quality of life, including education, and expanding its housing options will attract people to Peterborough.

That angle, marketing and communications, is central to the hopeful attraction.

“We need ongoing search engine optimization and social media,” said Jeanne Dietsch, who has helped construct the EDA’s strategic plan.

“We also want to encourage businesses in town to do their own marketing,” she added. “I think it all needs a lot of work.”

The first of the plan’s five points is to hire a contractor to develop communications strategy. The board wants to improve its website, issue more press releases, and finish a promotional video that is currently in the editing phase.

The other points are to create an inventory of existing businesses, focus on retention and growth, find small businesses and home workers, and plan further projects.

Also discussed at the meeting were hopes of improving Peterborough’s broadband network when renegotiating the franchise agreement with Comcast.

Deputy Town Administrator Nicole MacStay said the law is built for local control, and even though the agreement is about cable television, it can be used to improve the area’s broadband service.

“It uses the exact same infrastructure, but it’s not what the franchise agreement is about,” she said.

MacStay will work with Kate Miller, a telecommunications lawyer living in New Hampshire, to prepare for the negotiations and better understand the law.

Connecting the edges of town to the network will make it easier to live and work in Peterborough.

The board also hopes to encourage lower-cost housing.

The push for “starter housing,” as the EDA is calling it, includes making a list of pro bono workers in the area, from builders to bankers, and identifying properties for young people and low-earners.

Chair George Sterling knows this initiative has a way to go, but he said that Peterborough is already welcoming.

“Peterborough has more affordable housing than any town in the ConVal district, [and] Jaffrey and Rindge as well,” Sterling said.