Economic Development Strategy (City of Meridian)
Monday, April 11, 2016
Posted by: Gay Dawn Oyler
In June 2014 the City of Meridian completed a city-wide Economic Development Strategy. For the first time, the City’s goals for economic development were defined and an implementation plan was written. Previous to the completion of this plan, the City approached economic development almost by "feel"—partnering with other agencies and jurisdictions, but lacking a solid blueprint for those specific industries and projects to pursue. As a result, we lacked a clear benchmark for measuring the success of our economic development program and its return on investment to the taxpayers.
The Economic Development Strategy was formulated with extensive participation from the community, including key stakeholders in the business community. As a result of this outreach, which included focus groups, presentations, and one-on-one sessions, a renewed partnership with the Meridian Chamber of Commerce and the Meridian Development Corporation (our Urban Renewal Agency) was forged. This renewed partnership has resulted in better dialog and more productive engagement across the community and with our key partners.
The Economic Development Strategy recommends several "target" industries for recruitment and expansion, as well as five "catalyst" projects designed to jumpstart implementation of the plan. Already this approach has borne fruit: one catalyst project, the New Ventures Lab (a co-work "incubator") will open in downtown Meridian in June 2015. Another project, a downtown conference center, will be the subject of a Request for Proposals to be issued to developers by the end of 2015.
This effort has led, in addition to progress on the catalyst projects, to a sharpened focus on our economic development efforts. We now have a plan where our investment in economic development can be measured, which serves to integrate our interactions with valued community partners.
For more info, contact:
Community Development Director