County Economic Development Plan Unveiled

MAYVILLE — In an attempt to hit more “home runs,” Chautauqua County officials unveiled the new Chautauqua County Economic Development Organizational Plan at Webb’s Captain’s Table restaurant Thursday.

County Executive George Borrello and Mark Geise, deputy Chautauqua County executive for economic development, were joined by Daniel Gunderson, Camoin Associates senior vice president, for the release of the new report on how the whole county should collaboratively work together toward creating economic development.

Gunderson said to create the report, Camoin officials held interviews with 25 community stakeholders and held a round table meeting where 30 organizations participated. He said the report concluded that in order for all county entities to collaboratively work together toward economic development that they need to share data and resources, communicate more, change behaviors with the idea of not working alone, but with others and to coordinate actions.

“Economic development is about collaboration,” he said.

Gunderson said one of the most important aspects to the new Chautauqua County Economic Development Organizational Plan is to break down the figurative barrier between the north and south parts of the county.

“This way everyone is working for a better Chautauqua County,” he said.

Steps in the plan include organizing the group by creating a name. To this point county officials have been discussing creating an economic development alliance, but Gunderson said that might not be the best name seeing that there are already organizations in the county that use the title “alliance.”

Step two is to create a governing board that will be made up of economic development officials throughout the county. Along with creating a governing board, the plan calls for an advisory board and five work groups to also be created. Each work group would focus on a specific area — economic development, community development, workforce development, housing and tourism/quality of life.

The third step would be to hire staff to facilitate the board’s actions. Gunderson said the plan calls for the county to hire three additional people for this step.

Other steps include finding funding resources, creating a five-year strategy and creating goals and then measurables to know weather the entity is reaching its goals.

Gunderson said “bottom line” the new entity should be the go-to place for economic development in five years for county officials.

Geise said the new entity would operate under the Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency’s Chautauqua Region Economic Development Corp. He said the full plan can be viewed at the IDA’s website — ccida.com – under resources.

Borrello said with a unified strategy for the whole county, economic development officials will no longer just be “kicking the can.”

“We don’t need to reinvent the wheel. We need to find the best practices,” he said.