Consider the Need for a Community-Specific Economic Development Plan or Strategy

In addition to strengthening the economic development element within a comprehensive plan, a local government can develop a specific plan that may be adopted separately, or as an addendum to a comprehensive plan. Examples of community-specific plans include economic development plans/strategies, downtown development district plans, revitalization strategies, infill development plans, and capital improvement programs. If an economic development plan/strategy is prepared, it should adhere to previously described planning principles. The plan/strategy should consist of a compilation of objectives, policies, goals, maps, and programs to guide future economic goals and take measurable steps to achieve them.

Several Delaware local governments and organizations have prepared and adopted economic development plans/strategies.

City of Milford

Milford’s Economic Development Strategy was created in 2010, with the assistance of a consultant, to encourage the economic growth and development of the City. It is intended to promote a diversified and regionally competitive economy and tax base while maintaining a high quality of life. A Resource Profile for Economic Development was created in conjunction with the Economic Development Strategy in 2010 as an objective overview of the City’s demographics, labor force, education, local economy, transportation access, and quality of life to determine its potential as a destination for businesses. The strategy was prepared through a participatory process and consisted of several tasks, as outlined below.

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The first task in the process was gathering background information and stakeholder feedback from city council, local employers, real estate developers, the chamber of commerce, and members of the Milford Downtown Association. The second task involved evaluating current economic conditions, land use projections based on the comprehensive land use plan, and conducting a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) analysis. The final task involved defining a vision and strategy for economic growth and developing specific recommendations on potential growth areas for the local economy and action items needed to achieve growth objectives.

City of Newark

In 2010, the City of Newark hired a consultant to conduct an economic development opportunities analysis and a Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) assessment of the City.newark econ dev The resulting Economic Development Strategy and Action Plan provides information to foster an understanding of Newark’s marketable strength cost-effective recommendations for improvements, development opportunities, and obstacles to development.

The plan incorporates knowledge gained from a review of key statistical information, secondary-source information, employer survey data, and key person interviews from the public and private sectors. The results of this research provided critical information leading to an understanding of the jurisdiction’s marketable strengths, product deficiencies, development opportunities and obstacles, and economic development issues. An economic development opportunities analysis, or target industry analysis, was prepared. The resulting strategy contains eleven initiatives to be pursued by the City that builds on economic development initiatives underway in the Greater Newark area. The Economic Development Strategy and Action Plan has been incorporated into the City of Newark’s 2014 Comprehensive Development Plan update in Chapter Nine: Economic Development .

City of Wilmington and New Castle County – The City of Wilmington and New Castle County unveiled a joint Economic Development Strategic Plan in November 2014. This plan serves as a blueprint that provides specific guiding principles aimed to achieve both short-term goals and create long-term opportunities that look to strengthen the local economies of both jurisdictions. Insight was gathered from prior studies, an analysis of relevant data, and considerable input from business and community leaders through numerous focus groups, interviews, and stakeholder meetings.

The Economic Development Strategic Plan is a three- to five-year guide for New Castle County’s economic development and consists of three sections. First, the competitive assessment section incorporated a SWOT analysis that identified the region’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats related to future growth. The second section identifies target clusters and industry sectors that will form the basis of the County’s business development efforts. The final section provides an action plan section to guide economic development in the County. It details three primary goals for the County’s economic development and 10 initiatives to be taken to achieve these goals.

Sussex County Action Committee

As demonstrated by the Sussex Economic Development Action Committee, a group of concerned citizens can also take action to strengthen economic development efforts and drive job growth. SEDAC’s overarching goal is to create self-sustaining, long-run economic growth in Sussex County by establishing the energies, institutions, and cooperative arrangements requisite for sustained economic development efforts. SEDAC sponsors monthly Sussex County Open for Business meetings that provide one-stop-shop access to an array of organizations, agencies and resource partners who assist small businesses in funding, business consulting and training in Sussex County.



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