• Last modified 991 days ago (Oct. 6, 2021)


Development chief calls it quits

Staff writer

Marion economic development director Randy Collett will retire in two weeks after nearly six years.

“The job is not finished, but somebody else needs to be sitting in this chair,” Collett said.

Collett, 69, said he and his wife needed to plan for what’s next.

“I retired once and decided to do this because it seemed like something that needed to be done,” he said.

But now, he said, he has too many irons in the fire and wants to step away.

“I have a lifelong partner with a bake shop who needs some occasional relief,” he said. “I have a farm. I have two grandchildren here in town.”

He and his wife will continue to live in Marion.

“We’re permanently here. We have no plans to go,” he said.

He’d like to see someone pick up the torch.

“The businesses in town are struggling, and we need more succession planning. When the succession plan is lock the door and turn off the lights, that’s not good.”

Succession planning ensures there is someone to take over when an owner leaves or dies.

His best memories as economic director involve successes, even though he doesn’t claim responsibility for one of those successes.

“The happiest was getting the streetscape project completed, but I didn’t have a whole lot to do with it,” he said.

He’s also glad the city arranged grants to assist with moderate income housing that led to development on N. Coble St. and to renovate a building at 3rd and Main Sts. that will house a barbecue restaurant.

“I just want the community to be able to look at some wise and planned growth,” he said. “There are some elements of the community that need some attention and haven’t had widespread support.

“We keep hearing that we need better Internet service. We need to work on that. I wish we could band together and overcome what I call the nit-pickers and grow the community.”

Last modified Oct. 6, 2021