If You Don’t Have a Certified Site, You Need This

Site certification has gained importance over the last several years as states, utilities and railroads create certification programs.  And given the competition for economic development, as more communities do it more want to do it. But what if you can’t afford to “certify” your site? Simple, you can do your own due diligence as if you were the project.  Why?  Because site certification was really born out of economic developers not being prepared and knowing their available sites as integrally as they should. Below is a simple template we use in the early stages of competing due diligence for our private sector clients.  And, if you have this information on hand, I’m confident that you’ll save yourself a lot of time the next time your asked to respond to a site selectors RFP. Continue reading

Spencer Project Complete

On Monday (Jan 7, 2019) we presented the Spencer City Council (Spencer, Iowa) with a final draft of their Economic Development Strategic Work Plan.  The plan, developed in conjunction with the city’s Grow Spencer Commission, covers a range of economic development initiatives for the next five years.  Check out the plan. In accepting the final plan, the Spencer City Council unanimously approved a resolution to implement the plan. News Coverage: Council Approves Grow Spencer ED Plan (KCID-FM) Continue reading

Understanding How City Plans Fail

In my experience a City’s successful implementation of a plan depends greatly upon a their reaction to and investment in the actual elements of the plan.  For successful implementation to occur, a city must be mindful of the tendency for its performance to ‘default’ to status quo (generalization and avoidance), substitution (solving a less complex problem) or surrogation (substituting a performance measure for goal attainment). Status Quo Status Quo appears most typically in the forms of generalization and avoidance: Generalization Generalization occurs when a plan is accepted or adopted at the Council level, but not integrated into the working operations of the city. Plan implementation may be added to council, management and department agendas, but on-going engagement in discussing both the plan and its implementation gets almost exclusively focused on existing daily operations or is skipped due to a lack of time spent on other matters. This tendency to generalize the meaning of ‘implement the plan’ leads away from the strategic discussions, decisions and actions required for real plan implementation. Drawing a comparison to small business, it’s like the owner always putting “do marketing” on their task list without a direction (e.g. promoting a special off), specific strategies (e.g. add… Continue reading