Economic development pilot gets underway

Published: Thursday, January 30, 2014 at 03:07 PM.

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity believes the community that plans will be the more competitive community when it comes to economic development.

Last week, representatives of the DEO and the city of Port St. Joe began that planning process as part of a pilot project called Competitive Florida.

The city is one of four areas – three other Florida cities as well as DeSoto County – to be included in the pilot project, which aims to provide local officials with a foundation for assessing community assets and tailored to those assets a plan for future economic development.

The DEO is providing technical assistance and $40,000 in grant funds to boost the planning process, a central goal to begin to build a statewide repository of case studies in economic development – the challenges and successes – from which other communities can learn.

“You are the pilots for us,” said Julie Dennis, DEO coordinator for Competitive Florida. “We want to know what has worked and what hasn’t. This is your chance to tell your story.”

All work under the grant must be completed by the end of the fiscal year June 30 with a community case study the final document to be produced.

The key, Dennis said, was more than just putting an action plan for economic development on paper. Those actions plans must result in action.

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