DERRY — Economic growth and business success top the list of what's on the minds of the town's newest task force.
Members of the "Move Derry Forward" group met for the first time on Sept. 16 to begin dialogue and plans on a continuing effort to bring economic development to town.
The Town Council charged Councilor Joel Olbricht with lead the new group, inviting officials from various sectors of Derry life to be part of the group.
The economic development discussion is nothing new to the more than 25 people who gathered at the Sanmina offices on Linlew Road for the meeting.
Derry's leaders are keeping a close watch on the town's growth and ways to bring new business to town.
With a planned new Walmart in the works for Derry's Route 28 area north of Tsienneto Road — the town's TIF, or tax-increment financing district — leaders hope this area will reap financial rewards by helping to stabilize the tax rate. A highly charged downtown committee meets regularly to take the offensive on plans for more parking and ways to make Broadway look more attractive.
"The TIF is one of the Town Council's most important goals," Olbricht said. "It is very important for us to make sure it gets done right."
Town officials are still negotiating with landowners along that stretch of Route 28 to acquire the land needed for expansion work to start. Some businesses, including the former Allen Motors, may be sold to new owners.
Located within that district, Sanmina is a success story in itself, according to Jafar Salimi, director of global real estate and facilities for the company. He said Derry is a prime spot to be for his company to grow.
After closing the Derry plant in 2002, the California-based electronics manufacturer reopened in town in 2007, with a workforce of about 100 workers.
"We have 100-plus employees and hope to expand, to make some sort of campus in this area," Salimi said. "There is a lot happening here and we are happy to be part of this."
With the Town Council focusing on specific goals toward its economic development goals, the new task force will continue to join people from many areas of town to keep the conversation going as work moved ahead.
And officials noted bringing back a partnership between the town and a local economic development corporation could be a step in the right direction.
Salimi said Sanmina's successes can only help Derry and he is eager to continue with the group to keep the conversations open.
"We are growing," Salimi said. "Business has picked up and we are in a bit of an upswing — and Derry has tremendous potential."
The next meeting of the Move Derry Forward group is set for October.
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