The Town Council voted 5-0 to spend up to $75,000 on a market analysis of North Kingstown at a meeting last week. The proposal was put forward by the Economic Development Advisory Board and Economic Development Manager Paige Bronk.
Bronk was hired earlier this year to help bring more business to North Kingstown.
The analysis will review the town's strengths and weaknesses, Bronk said. It will include interviews and public comments as well as data on businesses, market position, labor force, and infrastructure among other things.
"Consider it an audit of a local economy with a strategic focus on the future," he said.
"Is it worth spending? Yes, it’s an investment," said Town Council President Liz Dolan. "At the end of the day, the reason why we supported Paige's job and also this market analysis is we’re banking on a return on the investment – new businesses coming to this town."
Some of questions that will be addressed, Bronk said, include:
- What is the market saturation point for the number of banks (on Post Road, for instance)?
- What is the market saturation point for the number of housing units?
- What is the likely market use for older motels on Post Road?
- Could the market absorb more dining establishments and how would this benefit other retail operations?
- How can North Kingstown capitalize on market deficiences or market opportunities not addressed by the Quonset Development Corp.?
- How can the town maximize alternative revenue sources (i.e. not property taxes)?
- What approval processes impede business attraction, retention or expansion
In addition, the analysis will look at:
- market trends and their land-use demands
- supply and demand for key sectors
- "gap analysis" – figuring out where local consumer demand is not met by local retail stores and restaurants
- possible constraints (i.e. infrastructure, regulations) that limit quality development in NK.
- recommendations for public/private partnerships such as a redevelopment load fund, targeted industry incentives, and regulatory changes.
Bronk said one big reason for the analysis is it can be used to help the town get grant funding (for utilities, road improvements, sewers). He said the actual analysis will take about six months.