In 2018, Chautauqua County embarked upon a two-phase economic development planning process with the assistance of a nationally recognized consulting firm, Camoin Associates. The goal of this process was to work with public and private stakeholders from across the county to identify a cohesive and comprehensive strategy, and importantly, a collaborative mechanism for its implementation. Our work with stakeholders throughout Chautauqua County revealed that there was strong interest in collaborating to better position the county for continued economic success.
Phase I of this process (Chautauqua County Economic Development Organizational Plan) recommended the formation of a project-based, private/public economic development “collaborative” that encourages county-wide economic development stakeholders to work together in the development and implementation of a County-wide Economic Development Strategy (Phase II). This collaborative, known as the Chautauqua County Partnership for Economic Growth, was launched in 2019.
Chautauqua’s numerous assets including a high quality of life, good infrastructure, a strong tourism industry, opportunities for skilled workers, and rising incomes, provide the necessary foundation for growth in the coming years. The energy and interest in overcoming challenges and seizing opportunities shows that Chautauqua County can be stronger when acting together as a group. Coming together and forming robust county-wide partnerships will result in a stronger economic development strategy, increased efficiency and effectiveness of programs, and optimization of financial and human resources.
Phase II of this process, currently in development, will result in the creation of a County-wide Economic Development Strategic Plan that will contain high-level ideas and a clear vision for transformative projects and equitable opportunities for all county residents, with specific tactics, projects, programs, services, and policies to be updated or initiated. The Strategy is being created to:
- Align with and contribute toward goals of increasing levels of per-capita income, private capital investment, population and job growth;
- Promote an equitable quality of life and place for county residents, with vibrant downtowns and healthy neighborhoods having affordable, diverse options for housing and accessible amenities;
- Help create an environment where entrepreneurs of diverse backgrounds and incomes can start and grow businesses across all industry sectors;
- Improve the business climate, characterized on the frontline by streamlined processes and business-friendly efforts of municipal officials in all jurisdictions;
- Contribute to the fiscal sustainability of the County –either in terms of tax revenue generated as a result of economic growth, program income and dedicated funding streams, and/or in a decreased need for public spending, particularly on social services;
- Support efforts of public education and workforce development professionals to help retain graduates as permanent residents in local jobs;
- Fill gaps in local economic development programming and targets resources in order to support the growth and development of each jurisdiction within the County;
- Leverages regional collaboration and State resources to support County services and initiatives;
- Complement County’s comprehensive plan and target resources to improve infrastructure and community development priorities; and
- Produce right-sized performance metrics to stay on track and implement management control and accountability measures for maximum impact.