FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 19, 2020
Contact: Mark Geise
JAMESTOWN, N.Y.: The Chautauqua County Partnership for Economic Growth (CCPEG) recently completed a year-long process to develop a comprehensive County-wide Economic Development Strategic Plan. The plan was presented to the public on Wednesday via video conference.
The plan was informed by realities faced by the private sector, economic development leaders, and workforce professionals across the County. It contains dozens of core strategies and five “game changing” initiatives. These are ambitious and impactful initiatives, which are intended to have wide-ranging economic implications for the County. Among the top priorities are specific tactics for: preparing adequate sites for development; building new housing units; preparing a skilled workforce; increasing visitation by leveraging tourism assets; and investing in the County’s core communities to enhance the tax base.
The strategy was developed to rethink how economic development is done in Chautauqua County by bringing together a cross section of leaders to address common issues and to capitalize on the County’s assets. Moreover, it promotes a county-wide outlook that supports substantial initiatives to incrementally transform Chautauqua County’s economic standing in Western New York and across the State of New York.
“We engaged over 115 individual partners to develop an inclusive, collaborative, and comprehensive county-wide strategy that I’m confident will set the stage for Chautauqua County to reach its full economic potential,” said Mark Geise, Deputy County Executive for Economic Development. “I’m proud of the additional partnerships we’ve developed throughout the County and the early wins we’ve achieved. This is a smart, asset-based approach that is already proving to be impactful.”
The draft document was recently re-worked to include a COVID-19 resiliency framework that the Board and other partners will use to guide the process of economic recovery. The CCPEG Board, local elected officials, and other stakeholders will continue to have discussions to assist the business community and facilitate a broader economic recovery, and this body of work is intended to guide and accelerate those discussions.
“Even though we face more obstacles than we did pre-COVID-19, we also have new opportunities to attract new residents and workers, to market Chautauqua County as a mecca for outdoor recreation and indoor entertainment, to promote remote work opportunities, and to tout our high quality of life and low cost of living,” said Matt Churchill, Founder and President of Water Street Brass and Co-Chair of CCPEG.
The case for substantial support from State, Federal, and philanthropic entities to support its implementation is also central to the strategy.
Geise, who also serves as Co-Chair of the Partnership, added, “We need all partners to get behind the strategy, and work collaboratively to implement its recommendations. This is a new way of doing business, and we have a real opportunity to change the trajectory of our County.”
The plan also contains organizational recommendations for the CCPEG as it develops into a robust economic development entity tackling the challenges facing Chautauqua County stakeholders. The intent is to create a sustainable funding model with public and private support for operations, and to advance the implementation of specific projects and initiatives that align to the priorities of the plan.
To this end, five individual stakeholder work groups, including: Business Development; Community Development; Workforce Readiness and Development; Housing; and Tourism/Destination Development, have been created to facilitate the implementation of various sections of the strategy.
It is understood that each of the work groups, led by co-chairs, will establish individual blueprints and projects to pursue on an annual basis. These initiatives are more granular in nature—project and task oriented—and draw from the individual skillsets and expertise of each of the stakeholder members in the individual work groups. It is expected that these projects and initiatives will support the overall goals and objectives of the plan, while facilitating collaboration and efficiency among individual stakeholders.
The Chautauqua Region Economic Development Corporation (CREDC), the umbrella organization of the CCPEG, launched this phase of the strategy, which was the second phase the two-part economic development strategy development process, in August of 2019. This phase dovetailed with the launch of the Partnership for Economic Growth, which was developed based on the recommendation of the phase one Chautauqua County Economic Development Organizational Plan. The two-phase approach was designed thoughtfully with an emphasis on developing stronger partnerships and implementation methods, prior to determining specific economic priorities.
County Executive PJ Wendel added, “This plan will only be successful if we have complete buy-in and participation by every economic development stakeholder, and by local, regional, state, and federal funders. While the table is set, our work is just getting started. I’m confident that this public-private approach is the right way moving forward.”
The plan was developed with assistance from Camoin 310, a nationally recognized full-service economic development consulting firm. It was funded by the Chautauqua County Division of Economic Development, the County of Chautauqua Industrial Development Agency (CCIDA), and through the generous support of the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation.
About CCPEG – The Chautauqua County Partnership for Economic Growth serves as the main convener of economic development partners and resources to advance key projects that achieve economic prosperity in Chautauqua County. It also serves as the catalyst and broker of resources for advancing economic prosperity efforts and is the central coordinating entity for the formation, retention, development, and attraction of quality jobs and advancements to the quality of life. For more information, please visit chqpartnership.org.