Clinton County launches integrated economic development program; Port Authority to manage collaborative, county-wide initiative


News Journal



WILMINGTON — Five entities — the Clinton County Board of Commissioners, City of Wilmington, Wilmington Community Improvement Corporation, Clinton County Convention & Visitors Bureau, and the Clinton County Port Authority — have committed to launching a comprehensive, collaborative countywide economic development program.

The initiative, with funding from all five organizations, will be facilitated and managed by the Clinton County Port Authority and will create a single point of contact for economic development activity, existing businesses, and those companies considering locating in Clinton County.

“We are extremely pleased and proud to be involved in creating this important partnership,” said Clinton County Board of Commissioners President Brenda Woods. “Economic development is about creating opportunities, and we believe this program will enable our county to create more opportunities.”

The Port Authority will be responsible for coordinating a range of economic development services — business retention and expansion, business recruitment, and coordinating the efforts and resources of other economic development channel partners, among other functions — to ensure consistency and maximize efficiency in the pursuit of business development opportunities.

Wilmington Mayor John Stanforth noted, “This partnership is necessary, and this is the time for an initiative like this. We’re all better served when we’re pulling in the same direction; this program will allow our community to be more focused and efficient at the important work of economic development.”

The 5-year agreement also includes regular reporting to the partner organizations. These reports will include, but not be limited to:

• Inquiries and responses from prospective businesses, categorized by type

• Retention and Expansion visits conducted (number and community)

• General economic indicators

• Running collective totals of project investments, job creation/retention for projects undertaken during that calendar year

• Other activities germane to the collective community economic development effort

“We believe that this structure adds clarity and value to the community’s economic development efforts,” said Clinton County Port Authority Chairman Walt Rowsey. “It will allow a strategic focus on economic development, the opportunity to eliminate potential duplication of efforts, and present a ‘unified front’ to businesses seeking information and assistance. It is consistent with the mission of the Port Authority, and we’re proud to lead this program,”

The Port Authority will serve as the primary point of contact — inbound and out-bound — for economic development activity. This will include coordination of out-bound marketing, electronic, print, and social media presence, participating in trade shows and consultant calls, and coordination of all new investment and/or expansion inquiries.

“We think this model makes sense and is a smart way to go about the work of economic development, going forward, for our community. It puts us in a good position to utilize our community resources effectively,” said Wilmington CIC President Jeff Linkous.

The agreement also stipulates that the Port Authority will maintain, and update, an inventory of existing development sites, available facilities, and site/facility data relevant to same – to the extent such data is available and/or made available. These data will be maintained and managed locally and on a state-wide electronic database.

“As a community and economic development partner, the CVB is excited to be part of this opportunity,” said Clinton County Convention and Visitors Bureau Executive Director Susan Valentine-Scott. “We’re pleased to strengthen our partnership with these organizations, and to support a single point of contact for economic development throughout our community,”

About the Port

The Clinton County Port Authority is a special purpose government formed to operate transportation infrastructure and lead economic development efforts. It owns and operates the Wilmington Air Park, an integrated aviation and logistics business park located on 1,900 acres with nearly three million square feet of industrial, office and hangar space.

Learn more at www.wilmingtonairpark.com.

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