Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Economic development? Needs work.

The regional economic development report is out from the Oconee County and Athens-Clarke County Regional Task Force, and it's pretty interesting. Not terribly surprising in the initial findings is that, well, we could do a good bit more in terms of partnering with all of our neighbors and do more in attracting and creating well-paying jobs.

The executive summary notes that a perception exists that their is a 'dysfunctional, factional economic development effort in this region.'

Some of the challenges that are noted in the report include ...

- a fractured economic development structure, which includes multiple chambers of commerce, government economic development agencies, development authorities and University of Georgia divisions. This prevents a cohesive marketing effort and creates confusion among prospects;

- lack of “product,” including pad-ready sites, spec buildings, government controlled “mega” sites, industrial areas with water and sewer along growth corridors;

- negative perception among some key state government and business leaders and the statewide developers network;

- overreliance on the University of Georgia in some areas and underutilization in others; and

- limited meaningful working relationships with top government and national and international business leaders compared to those in other areas of the state.

I'll be reviewing this and will post more.


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