by: ISABEL GAUTSCHI - Councilor Sean Drinkwine discusses efforts to attract new businesses to Estacada as Mayor Brent Dodrill looks on.If there’s one thing nearly everyone could agree on, it’s the need for another grocery store.

Alan Rademacher, owner of Estacada Bark and Nursery, told how he noticed a mile and a half of development soon after Sandy added a Safeway years ago.

This was just one thread of the conversation during the Business Social hosted by the mayor and City Council on Monday, June 10.

Local business leaders mingled with the mayor, city manager, city councilors and Chamber of Commerce members over a spread at Barbara’s Flowers and Coffee.

Phil Lingelbach, chairman of Estacada Development Association, discussed the association’s focus on local recreational activities and attracting businesses that can provide goods and services for those activities.

“I think there’s opportunities out here for business to provide services too,” Lingelbach said.

For example, in an earlier interview, Lingelbach mentioned that it would be great if people could rent rafts and gear in Estacada.

At the social, Lingelbach mentioned hopes to attract a sporting goods store to Estacada.

However, he noted that attracting recreational outfitters to Estacada will take some effort.

“That’s where we have to establish relationships. We have to work on those kind of things. It’s not just going to fall into our lap,” he said.

A woman mentioned that she has three teenagers and they have “virtually nothing to do” locally.

She said that a lot of people won’t settle in Estacada because there’s nothing for their kids to do.

“We need to think as a community not just on tourism but on people that live here,” Councilor Edward Smith added.

Fearless Brewing Company owner Bennett Johnson noted how difficult it is for large trucks to get to Estacada.

“As long as that’s the case, it will be hard to attract big business,” she said.

Johnson raised the issue that with various groups such as the Estacada Development Association, Main Street Program and the Chamber of Commerce approaching city development from various angles, efforts seem splintered to her.

She would like to see a unified approach with one group in charge.

Rademacher added that he would like the city to hire an independent city planner or economic developer.

Mayor Brent Dodrill liked the idea of an economic developer, but mentioned it would be difficult to find the funds to hire one.

Johnson suggested looking into grants.

“Does the city actually have a three year strategic plan and if it doesn’t, why not?” she asked.

Dodrill answered that the city usually has yearly goals that get kicked back a year or two years when they aren’t met, but he wouldn’t call it a “strategic plan.”

He said that the three-year strategic plan was good feedback.

The City Council meeting scheduled after the social was canceled due to the lack of a quorum.

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