It is remarkable what can be achieved in a relatively short period of time, with leadership, focus and resources. Rewind the clock to 2008-2009 and many observers were writing the community’s obituary. After all, a series of business closings – triggered by firms linked to the automotive and durable goods manufacturing sector – created an economic tailspin. Double-digit unemployment, record commercial and industrial vacancy rates, a tanking residential market and a tsunami of human services needs exceeded even the most well capitalized organizations.
Six years later, the preparation and positioning are paying dividends. The negative economic indicators from the past are now replaced with positive trends, fueled by a steady stream of economic activities: $1.85 billion in new capital investments have been committed; over 7.2 million square feet of new or formerly vacant commercial and industrial space is occupied; and nearly 4,000 new full-time jobs are the anticipated net gain once these businesses reach their full operational capacities.
The following list represents a preliminary snapshot of the high-level goals attributed to this 5.0 initiative. As the effort moves forward, these goals will be refined, sharpened and communicated, accordingly.
- Effectively communicate the community's vision through a single voice.
- Improve the community's image by instilling a feeling of perpetual optimism and providing examples of success in economic development.
- Establish and strengthen Business-to-Business relationships and demand-driven workforce solutions.
- Identify, explore and leverage business and investment connections that provide direct access to decision makers.
- Create, compile and update real-time, marketplace data that is recognized as providing meaningful, value-added information.