By John Anderson

According to the Town of Auburn web site, www.auburnguide.com,  “The mission of the Economic Development Committee is to make recommendations to the Town Manager on strategies for stimulating economic development in Auburn.” Five local citizens are charged with this task: Chairman Daniel Carpenter, Vice-chairman Anita Tsantinis, and members Carrie Cross, Linda Eknian and Thomas Ashe.

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Connie Pion (right foreground), Director of Destination Worcester, presents an explanation of her organization to Auburn’s Economic Development Committee.

At Wednesday night’s meeting,  the committee was joined by Town Manager Julie Jacobson, Director of Development & Inspectional Services Adam Burney, Selectmen Doreen Goodrich and Ken Holstrom and Director of Destination Worcester, Connie Pion.  Pion discussed the functions of her agency and explored potential future collaboration with Auburn businesses.

Destination Worcester is funded by the city to promote conventions, conferences, meetings, sports and events within its borders. Ms. Pion stated that her job was reaching out for new business to bring into Worcester, and it’s “no good to pick the pocket” of neighboring communities.

Ms. Jacobson invited Destination Worcester (DW) to tour the new Pappas Recreation Complex and see if it might meet any of their needs. While DW is not a regional marketing firm, Pion cited the Central Massachusetts Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Worcester Cultural Coalition, and the WRTA as good regional partners.

Vice-chair Tsantinis asked about the lack of hotel space in Worcester.  Ms. Pion confirmed this fact and said it is a limiting factor in the types of business she can pursue. Tsaninis suggested a partnership with the five hotels in Auburn and further suggested discussing a shuttle service to Worcester venues when needed. DW hopes to have a more regional approach in place by this January. Ms. Jacobson suggested the committee work the local Chamber of Commerce to understand the hospitality situation.

Ms. Jacobson confirmed that the Economic Development Committee will be limited to the current five members. While an attendance policy was discussed, the group decided regular scheduled meetings should generate a consistent quorum.  The committee voted to hold meetings on the first Monday of the month at 6PM with the next meeting being November 4th.