The big pictureWritten by Tom Pounds | President / Publisher | firstname.lastname@example.org
Last week, our special section on the Meta-Plan put the spotlight on regional economic development efforts. The plan is now called the less cryptic “Toledo-Regional Economic Plan,” but the mission remains the same: to enable conversation between local economic development agencies to make sure all the players know what is going on at any given time. UT, the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority, Lucas County Improvement Corporation, Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce, City of Toledo, Regional Growth Partnership and Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments are just some of the organizations that are working with the state to move the development ball downfield with unity and cooperation.
It is important to call attention to this information again because as our economy struggles to recover from its slump, communication and cooperation will be imperatives, not luxuries.
As Dan Johnson, former UT president and one of the initial movers of the Meta-Plan idea, wrote in our 2008 special section, “The rationale and arguments for strategic, high-level collaboration among our economic development agencies and organizations were discovered a long time ago by many successful cities and regions. Many are well-known and include Minneapolis, Indianapolis, Louisville, Ky., and Charlotte, N.C., to name a few. Some have pursued these strategies through regional governance, some through regional alliances and others through enlightened private- and public-sector leadership. Whatever the tool chosen for strategic, high-level collaboration, those cities and regions that have taken that step in the past are now among our nation’s leading metropolitan areas with respect to economic development.
“If we succeed in developing a more formal, integrated, collaborative approach to economic development in the region, we can all be confident that our chances for success have increased.”
Those words were true then and ring truer now.
When we assemble next year’s look at this vital effort, we will hopefully be able to show some tangible progress and results.
Thomas F. Pounds is president and publisher of Toledo Free Press. Contact him at email@example.com.