Regional Community Development News - Top Stories - June 25, 2011

1. Nonprofit partnerships work to jumpstart economy | Richmond Times-Dispatch

Can one region "JumpStart" a national economy?

However unlikely the proposition, the Northeast Ohio region of 4 million people is giving it a real whirl.

First, it's leading by practice. Drawing on the region's historically large foundation resources, since 2004 it has had a "Fund for Our Economic Future" focused on such goals as connecting cutting-edge industries.

"This is regional, collaborative and for the long haul," says its president, Brad Whitehead. He cites the sparks of creativity and growth potential in such innovations as taking "a Rolls-Royce facility in fuel cells in North Canton, hooking up with Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, with polymer technology in Akron, and then materials and metal strength in Youngstown."

Now, the Ohioans' signature job-producing nonprofit — JumpStart, a 7-year-old organization that invests public and private funds in entrepreneurial startups — is "going national" with a new affiliate, JumpStart America, which aims to raise ...

2. Call for Participation: Special Session on Regional Economic Development and Growth at the 58th Annual North American Meetings of the Regional Science Association International (NARSC) & Second Conference of the Regional Science Association of the Americas (RSAmericas) 

The economic recession, coupled with the ongoing global economic restructuring, has made researchers and policy makers question their assumptions about how to generate regional economic growth. There is a growing realization that a one-size-fits-all approach to economic development may not work; and that, instead, tailored local and regional strategies may be needed. Given this, regional economic development practitioners want to know what strategies will lead to sustainable economic growth. Among the questions they must consider are: how do they foster the development of human capital, which is essential to innovation; how do they develop an environment that supports entrepreneurship formation and firm and employment growth; and what types of transportation and communications infrastructure are needed?


The Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) hosted an “Active Transportation Summit” on Thursday, June 23, at the Cira Centre in Philadelphia. The conference, co-hosted by the Pennsylvania Environmental Council (PEC), was aimed at raising awareness of the local regional trail network, its successes and the ongoing work needed to complete it.
“A regional trail network is a key element for multi-modal transportation,” said DVRPC executive director Barry Seymour.

The DVRPC has a regional trails council that brings different groups together to work on the entire trails project.

Say what you will about our region's leaders - and we've probably said just about everything - they certainly have a passion for improving the Grand Strand and leaving it a better place than they found it.

Rebuilding and revitalization fever seems to have swept through our region, from Horry County's decision to dedicate new money to the Regional Economic Development Corp. to Georgetown County's study of local industry. Perhaps it's all a reaction to coming out of recession, taking a deep breath and wanting to quickly put contraction in the rear view mirror. Perhaps the stars just aligned and we found a number of business-building leaders in place all at the same time. Whatever the reason, plans are being made, funds are being raised and optimism is in the air all around us.

5. Budget cuts create battle inside region’s planning agency, but whose job is in trouble? » Naples Daily News

The executive director of the Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council laid off three planning staff members to cut the budget and then put one of them on administrative leave.

Now he’s under fire and trying to keep his own job.

The planning council’s executive committee, in an emergency meeting Thursday, nearly placed executive director Ken Heatherington on administrative leave without pay.

But Heatherington buckled to the panel’s requests to re-examine his budget cuts.

Heatherington will bring alternative budget options to the regional council’s budget-finance committee on Wednesday in preparation for the council’s next session, on Thursday.
One budget option still includes the layoffs, Heatherington said.

The decision to lay off staff ultimately lies with the executive director. The regional planning council’s board consists of elected officials in the six-county region.

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