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Harvard Economic Development Corp. hires new director

Eldredge expresses optimism that economy will continue to rebound

HARVARD – Leaders of the Harvard Economic Development Corp. are hoping their new hire gets to lead a resurgence in development as the economy strengthens.

The public-private partnership announced this week that it has brought on Charles Eldredge to serve as the executive director, a position left unfilled since the last director stepped down more than six months ago, Harvard EDC Chairman Roger Lehmann said.

“We thought it best to leave it open the way the economy was,” Lehmann said. “There are signs of the economy improving, so we thought this was the time for us to have an executive director working for us.”

Created in 2001, the Harvard EDC works with existing and potential area employers and produces marketing materials to facilitate growth in the community.

It’s funded predominately by a board of eight area employers, seven of which give $5,000 a year.

The city of Harvard kicks in $25,000 a year, and the EDC brings in an additional $6,000 to $8,000 a year from other members.

In all, the EDC brings in between $66,000 and $68,000 a year from about 40 members.

Eldredge, who has experience serving on several public agencies including the McHenry County Economic Development Corp., will work in a part-time capacity. His workload depends on the amount of prospective growth in the community, Lehmann said.

Eldredge is optimistic that he will be kept busy.

“A development director can’t affect the business cycle,” he said. “But what he can do is when there are opportunities, make them most effective for the people that would like to locate there, and for the community.”

He added that areas where development was strong before the recession have rebounded the strongest.

“In farther-out areas, it’s going to take a little longer,” Eldredge said. “But I think the progression is clear. The economy, particularly the development economy, is starting to rebound.”

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