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.
Four years later, the preparation and positioning are paying dividends. The negative economic indicators from 2008-2009 have now shifted into a more consistent, positive direction, fueled by a steady stream of economic activities: $746.4 million in new capital investments have been committed; nearly four million square feet of new or formerly vacant commercial and industrial space; and approximately 2,300 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 Advisory Council begins to meet and shape Rock County 5.0, specific goals and their related benchmarks will be publicized.
- 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.