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Moorhead economic development branch considers relocating office

MOORHEAD - The city's business promotion arm is considering changes that would give it greater independence from City Hall. The Moorhead Economic Development Authority, a city agency with the authority to tax residents, is contemplating a relocat...

MOORHEAD – The city’s business promotion arm is considering changes that would give it greater independence from City Hall.
The Moorhead Economic Development Authority, a city agency with the authority to tax residents, is contemplating a relocation from the fourth floor of the city’s offices in the Moorhead Center Mall to a downtown storefront.
The EDA is also reviewing a move to hire and direct its executive director, a power that now rests with City Manager Michael Redlinger. 

The two proposals signal a desire from the EDA to distance itself from the rest of the city’s operations. As Redlinger puts it, the goal seems to be “having more of an identifiable, separate organization.”
On Monday, the EDA Board and the City Council will both vote on whether to take a month to study the issue.
None of the city leaders interviewed for this story expressed a strong stance one way or another on the proposed changes. They also said nothing was wrong with the status quo.
“We’re looking at it, maybe, to help streamline,” EDA Board Chairman James Steen said. “I don’t know if it will or not.”
Mayor Del Rae Williams said moving the EDA office out of City Hall and into a downtown storefront could help the city attract businesses.
“People are more likely to stop in and talk about things. It’s just more welcoming,” she said.
The city’s economic development director, Matt Maslowski, agreed.
“You’re accessible without going through an elevator to a fourth floor,” he said, referring to his current secure-access office situation. The EDA has money to pay the lease on a new office downtown, he said.
Maslowski was hired by Redlinger and reports directly to him, while also working as executive director for the EDA Board. The EDA Board is now looking at whether Maslowski should report directly to it, rather than to Redlinger.
Redlinger and Maslowski said they have worked well together and would continue to do so, even if Maslowski started reporting to the EDA Board instead.

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