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Cash outlines vision for Lebanon's economic plan

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Being named Lebanon's Economic Development Director in early March has given Helene Singer Cash a larger platform to do something she has "always adored doing" - promoting our community.

Since bringing the Crystal Couture store to Lebanon in 2010, it is a community that Cash has become immersed in. She is on the board for Historic Lebanon and serves on the Allocations Committee of United Way and the Lebanon/Wilson Chamber of Commerce Tourism Committee and Economic Development Committee. She is also a graduate of Leadership Wilson - Class of 2013.

"Our community is important to me personally and becoming involved in both the city government, the business structure and the nonprofit needs of the community holistically gave me an idea of how I could give back," she said. "Being a part of the community is how you help it grow."

The Economic Development Director position was added to the 2014/2015 budget cycle and posted in July 2014. Cash explained that an applicant was in negotiations with the city for several months when they received a counter offer from their existing employer; therefore, the position was posted again in August 2014.

"During a community event I was having a conversation with Mayor Philip Craighead about retail development, traffic patterns, national developers and a light bulb went off in reference to the Economic Development Director position," she said, adding that she inquired if the position was still open. "I wanted to contribute more to the community than what I was already doing. The steps were to apply, be interviewed and now here we are."

Cash said that during the interview process her background with national and international companies was identified as well as her marketing and real estate site selection experience. "It appeared to be a natural fit. My experience as a small business owner brings a unique dynamic to this position.

With job history as a National Operations Manager, National Sales Manager and a business owner there is a unique skill set that is possessed," she said.

"No matter if I am working with the small business owner or the CEO of an international corporation, both are just as important and I can understand their specific needs because of my diverse background."

Cash's first tasks are to identify the current wants and needs of the city, meet with current businesses, prospective businesses and businesses that may have looked here and did not choose Lebanon.

In May, she will attend a global convention for the shopping center industry. "We will be in Las Vegas for several days promoting Lebanon ... The marketing, deal-making and educational opportunities for the City of Lebanon are unparalleled," she said. "This is the largest event of its kind ... This environment is comfortable to me because my background involves large conventions, interactions and the dynamic is exciting."

Her tag line is "Why Lebanon?" - and she is prepared to give folks a list of reasons why they should choose to be here.

"We are the transportation city - with a growing municipal airport, the only commuter rail in the state of Tennessee, five interstate exits off the most heavily traveled highway in the country and 20 minutes from an international airport," she said.

Cash also listed quality of life factors, such as affordable housing costs, and our commitment to "green" initiatives.

"We have a natural gas fleet of vehicles, electric recharge stations in several locations around the city and a beautification committee. We have just announced the Gasification process at the Wastewater Treatment Plant and a Solar Panel project," she continued.

Her six long-term goals for the city are as follows:

• maintain the community atmosphere and small town feel of Lebanon;

• make the city a desirable place to live and raise a family;

• enhance the historic characteristics of Lebanon's Historic Square in order to create a distinct city center;

• balance increased growth with the preservation of Lebanon's natural and built environments and its rural qualities;

• create diverse residential opportunities that enhance quality of life for all of Lebanon residents;

• and make the city a destination for visitors and new comers.

Cash, who was born in Philadelphia and raised in Tampa, Florida, moved to Tennessee over 20 years ago. Prior to relocating to Wilson County, she and her husband, Robert, resided in the West End area of Nashville.

Staff Writer Sabrina Garrett may be contacted at sgarrett@wilsonpost.com.

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