Business and government officials led a panel discussion Wednesday to introduce their vision for One Redmond, a unified public-private partnership dedicated to Redmond's economic vitality.
The new initiative represents a consolidated effort on the part of the , , the Redmond Economic Development Alliance (REDA) and the City of Redmond. The panel discussion was held as part of the chamber's monthly membership luncheon at in Redmond Town Center.
Members of the panel explained the main idea behind One Redmond was to bring together different economic stakeholders to become more efficient and avoid duplicating each other's efforts when it comes to promoting Redmond's business interests.
"There's only a finite amount of money in a town to support these kind of activities," said Bill Biggs, a Group Health vice president who represented REDA on the panel. "We think there's an opportunity to be more efficient by working together."
Mayor John Marchione, representing the City of Redmond on the panel, said One Redmond is currently forming its governance structure and will hire a fundraising consultant soon. From there, a board of representatives will be formed, and Marchione said it's likely the first board meeting will be held in June or July.
The consolidation means all represented groups will join together under one CEO and one board, but Marchione said it's not yet know if the name will remain One Redmond or be changed to include reference to the chamber or other groups. In any case, the mayor said it's likely the larger entity will include a "merchant group" to address the specific needs of local businesses.
Tom Martin, a senior vice president of Evergreen Healthcare and past board chair of the Greater Redmond Chamber of Commerce, acknowledged that the chamber's participation in One Redmond stemmed from declining membership but said the chamber will continue to offer its regular programs and events for the foreseeable future.
"We're trying to keep things as normal as possible...but a year from now things could look very different," Martin said.
Both Martin and Marchione said the decision for the city to partner with the private business sector was not taken lightly. The city has contributed $275,000 of public money to the initiative so far, but Marchione said the goal is to have One Redmond primarily be a private sector organization with one or two city representatives on the board.