The BIG Fremont Plan is a community wide sharing of the ideas, needs and hopes necessary for the economic and social development of Fremont.  It will take hard work and innovative thinking over the course of many years to place and maintain Fremont on a growth track.  The City of Fremont will focus its approach in the development of a long-term growth strategy.  To succeed in developing such a strategy we must take advantage of our existing resources, the most important being the innovative and community-minded spirit of our people.

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Through a series of working meetings of individuals from all parts of our community over the course of the first half of 2012, the BIG Fremont Plan will bring out and nurture the innovative ideas that will fuel future growth.  In doing this, we will not need to “recreate the wheel,” but, rather, develop ways to utilize our existing resources in a more productive manner, strengthen existing public-private partnerships and support the development of small businesses with a wide variety of programs, many of which currently exist.  Fremont city government will assume a leading role in developing our own solutions to current and future problems and more effectively utilizing existing resources.  From the Mayor on down through city government, the City will actively cooperate with our neighboring communities and county-wide economic development initiatives.

The Mayor of Fremont must be the driving force behind the implementation of the BIG Fremont Plan.  The Mayor will take the lead in identifying and refining the steps for the development of the Plan, coordinating meetings, encouraging participation of every part of the community in the working groups, preparing periodic progress reports and overseeing the implementation of policies and initiatives coming out of the Plan.

The Mayor must also be both an active advocate and cooperative representative for Fremont in bringing the growth policies developed by the BIG Fremont Plan to neighboring communities and the county-wide and regional economic development organizations. We need to take advantage of the input of the talented elected officials and economic development professionals working in Sandusky County by actively sharing ideas of developing joint economic plans.

Finally, working closely with other elected officials and City staff, the Mayor must ensure that the public service and infrastructure needs of local businesses, large and small, are met.  This will require the development of infrastructure projects and upgrades in a timely, considered and cost effective manner to support growth in Fremont for many years to come.

The members of the Fremont City Council are legally responsible for controlling the expenditure of the City’s money.  The Council must also oversee and approve applications for grant and loan funds.  To effectively carry out these responsibilities, the Council members must be active partners in the development and implementation of the BIG Fremont Plan.  This will require that the Mayor be committed to providing the Council members with timely and complete information about the planning process and encourage their participation in it.  The Mayor must also have a genuine respect for the ideas and abilities of the Council members.

Another important role of the Council members is receiving feedback and additional ideas from their constituents.  Since it is a goal of the BIG Fremont Plan process to continually solicit ideas from all parts of the City, citizens will be encouraged to communicate with their Council members.  Once again, to make this communication effective, the Council members must be fully informed and engaged in the BIG Fremont Plan process.

The heart of Fremont’s past, present and future economic development is, of course, its business owners, managers and workers.  As in the past, Fremont’s job growth must come primarily from within our City through the development and nurturing of homegrown independent businesses.

Today, Fremont continues its tradition of producing innovative business leaders, who are creating wealth in our community by building successful companies having a world-wide reach.  These efforts are matched by the owners of smaller businesses having a local focus and the managers of local branches of national retail and food and beverage businesses.

The ideas and entrepreneurial spirit of business owners, managers and workers must be actively and continuously solicited as a central part of the BIG Fremont Plan.

Fremont has been blessed with a vibrant and active faith community, including our largest churches to the fledgling congregations having a handful of committed people.  Outside the doors of our churches is a wide variety of faith based charitable organizations making their quiet, but meaningful, contributions to our community.

The leaders of these institutions and groups work in the trenches of life addressing the basic needs of our citizens. Through their work in addressing these needs and the management of their own organizations, these leaders have a wide variety of experience, strength and hope to contribute to the development and success of the BIG Fremont Plan.

Several organizations promoting our local business community for many years are managed by experienced and skilled professionals who have much to offer the BIG Fremont Plan.  The Sandusky County Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Fremont, Inc. and Fremont/Sandusky County Convention and Visitors Bureau have developed and administered numerous business based programs.  In addition, they possess a knowledge base as to the nature and contours of business activity in Fremont and the perceptions of individuals doing business in our community.

In addition, the Sandusky County Economic Development Corporation provides its expertise in the procurement of development opportunities for Fremont.  Through the compilation and analysis of data, the identification of economic trends and the coordination of economic planning, the EDC provides valuable analytical tools for businesses considering relocation or expansion.  Of equal importance is the EDC’s work in nurturing public/private partnerships to generate the financial resources necessary to support growth.  Clearly the experienced professionals at the EDC can provide valuable information and perspective in the BIG Fremont planning process.

For generations Fremont’s education community has endeavored to produce students who want to learn, work and create.  Few cities our size have created and successfully supported a community college and supplement secondary school education with resources such as Vanguard the Tech Center and state of the art community funded sports facilities..  Once again it is the “human capital” of Fremont that has enabled this to occur.

Currently, Fremont has a strong public school board, innovative administration and dedicated teachers. The BIG Fremont Plan process will seek to emulate portions of the successful administrative practices utilized in the development, financing and voter approval of the new Fremont middle school.  In addition, the committed parochial school community has wisely decided to consolidate its educational resources to take better advantage of current opportunities.

The economic revitalization of Fremont will never succeed over the long-term if talented and innovative young people go elsewhere for the promise of a fuller life and middle class families bypass Fremont to settle elsewhere.  Therefore, the BIG Fremont Plan must work with the local schools and Terra to prepare their students to fully participate in the economic growth of Fremont and incite their entrepreneurial spirit.  In doing so, partnerships now existing between the business and education communities can be expanded and strengthened.  For example, the present services offered by Terra and Vanguard in the planning and financing of small business start-ups can be expanded by creating internships at local companies.