Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Leaders discuss regional economic development

By David McGee, Bristol Herald Courier

BRISTOL, Tenn. — Successful economic development is blind to invisible boundaries, a consultant told local city and county leaders Tuesday.

Mac Holladay, founder and CEO of Market Street Services, an Atlanta-based economic and community development consulting firm, spoke to a group of about 20 community and business leaders from both Bristols, Sullivan County and Washington County, Virginia, at the Bristol Chamber of Commerce.

“It’s clearly communication and understanding the labor shed knows no boundaries. They don’t care where the city limits are or where the state line is either,” Holladay said after the 90-minute forum. “Neither does the quality of education. Neither does the quality of place because what you want is as many good choices as you can get. You want different places of different sizes to be of quality.”

Holladay said the most attractive areas for businesses have quality education, a prepared workforce and good quality of life. By contrast, he cited rural areas where hospitals have closed, describing those areas as economically “done” because health care is a key, basic consideration. Having no hospital makes it more difficult to attract new employers or families, he added.

He also said everyone involved needs to appreciate when another locality lands a business or industry.

To read the full article click here or email Alexia Eanes.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Momentum Grows in Topeka Via Holistic Economic Development Plan

By Kristin Hiller

A renaissance is underway in Topeka, Kansas, with undeniable momentum as new commercial, industrial and residential developments emerge citywide.

The year 2015 was pivotal with a $9.4 million public-private investment in infrastructure and amenities along Kansas Avenue downtown. Local investors have purchased more than 25 buildings on the avenue for gradual restoration into thriving businesses like Iron Rail Brewing, The Pennant, Cyrus Hotel and Kansas Avenue Lofts.

The 45,000-square-foot Evergy Plaza is slated to open in March 2020 in the shadow of the Kansas Statehouse. A crowning jewel of downtown development, the plaza will feature a 50-foot performance stage, digital screen, programmable fountains, fireplaces and an ice skating rink during the winter.

According to a recent market study, growth in the Capital City shows no signs of slowing down. St. Louis-based Development Strategies says downtown could support expansion over the next decade to include 900 new or rehabilitated housing units, 300,000 square feet of new or rehabilitated office space, 690,000 square feet of retail space and at least 200 more hotel rooms.

To read the full article click here or email Alexia Eanes.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Study finds Madison area needs national partnerships to thrive

By Judy Newman

The Madison area is in a lot better shape economically than most other metropolitan areas of the U.S., but to propel the region into a top-echelon position it will take a lot more collaboration, education, investment and promotion, according to a new study.

That could include forming entrepreneurial partnerships with groups as far away as Ann Arbor, Michigan or Pittsburgh, creating a food distribution center that would serve several states, or becoming a hub for industrial hemp.

One of the most important steps will be to find a way to make broadband available to everyone in the region, the study says.

The Madison area has the most diverse economy in the nation and is among leaders in the growth of technology jobs but it is far behind “top U.S. investment hubs such as Austin, Texas, Raleigh, North Carolina, or Portland, Oregon,” according to Advance Now 2.0.

To read the full article click here or email Alexia Eanes.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Strategy for future on show for public; Leaders hoping residents will engage with implementation process

Special to The Gazette
May 12, 2019

The public is invited to the rollout of the Halifax County Community Strategic Plan at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 22, at The Prizery when members of the steering committee will introduce key initiatives and tactical recommendations.

The community is invited to attend to learn more about the plan and how to get involved in the implementation process.

“A plan is only valuable when it is implemented,” said Chamber President Mitzi McCormick. “A realistic work plan will ensure that the Community Strategic Plan is activated and sustainable for the next five years and beyond.”

Halifax County began the process of carrying out a community-driven strategic planning initiative on Monday, Oct. 15. Public, private and non-profit leaders in Halifax County have come together around a holistic community and economic development initiative that will help the community achieve a more prosperous and successful future...

To read the full article click here or email Alexia Eanes.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

When do all of the magicians arrive?

By Chad Willett 

Editor’s note: The following is the last in a series of eight guest op-eds from leaders of the Forward Greater Cheyenne initiative that have been published each Tuesday in the WTE since Jan. 22.

Public drinking, gambling and prostitution; shootings, stabbings and thefts. Does this sound like Cheyenne? Nah, not today, but it certainly was how things were around here in the 1800s.

Populated by characters that will be revered for generations, this city rose out of the ground as one of those shady “Hell on Wheels” railroad towns. There’s a mystique and unapologetic truth to those roots.

But what about the other story that's often overlooked? The story in which Cheyenne appeared so fast, we were dubbed the “Magic City of the Plains”? The story of a rough and rowdy city that, over time, gradually shifted its shape into a social and cultural hub for the area?

That’s the story I dig: The story of the everyday magicians who bettered our community because they were motivated to make a better life for themselves and others.

Back in the day, people viewed Cheyenne, Wyoming, as this magical place to go for entertainment, opportunity and the chance at a better life.

To read the full article click here or email Alexia Eanes.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Group seeking volunteers to help beautify Cheyenne

By Kirsten Malm

Editor's Note

The following is the sixth in a series of eight guest op-eds from leaders of the Forward Greater Cheyenne initiative. Subsequent pieces will appear here each Tuesday.

Imagine you are in a city that has more than four museums, 37 miles of paved bike path, an estimated 400 art installations in parks and throughout the city, an increasing number of 100-plus concerts a year, and farmers markets in the summer and winter.

No, this is not Fort Collins, Colorado. This is our great city, Cheyenne, Wyoming!

The Beautification Committee set forth by Forward Greater Cheyenne aims to develop, promote and set in motion strategic programs to make Cheyenne a place where we are all proud to live and work. Through these initiatives, we ultimately hope to bring our community together, enhance Cheyenne’s image, and strengthen resident awareness and engagement in community initiatives.

Our plan is to further encourage collaboration and coordination between organizations involved with community improvement. Our committee will focus on the following strategic initiatives:

To read the full article click here or email Alexia Eanes.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Community must invest in infrastructure

By Tighe Fagan

Editor’s note: The following is the fifth in a series of eight guest op-eds from leaders of the Forward Greater Cheyenne initiative. Subsequent pieces will appear here each Tuesday.

The term infrastructure is a rather open-ended concept, depending on context. According to the Market Street Implementation Plan, which serves as the strategic vision for Forward Greater Cheyenne, infrastructure is narrowed to the following: transportation, housing, military and government, and broadband.

A cornerstone of the Forward Greater Cheyenne initiative is to leverage what we now have as regional assets and what we can improve in these four aspects in the years to come.

Greater Cheyenne has been a transportation hub, dating back to 1867 during the construction of the Union Pacific Railroad that passes through Cheyenne, and it will continue to be. Rail, coupled with the intersection of Interstates 25 and 80, make our community a linchpin in the movement of people and goods throughout the United States.

We must continue to capitalize on this unique geographic opportunity. There are currently several projects in flight. Front Range Passenger Rail is one such project. This is an effort to alleviate congestion along I-25 and provide for an alternative to automobile transportation. It would also provide improved access to workforce throughout the region for our businesses. This initiative will also have the added benefit of providing easy access to Denver International Airport.

To read the full article click here or email Alexia Eanes.