- Bill Kirkman (co-chair)
- Tom Rankin (co-chair)
- Kevin Ausburn
- Jim Batten
- Rev. Ken Chumbley
- King Coltrin
- Steve Crowder
- Steve Edwards
- Eric Fjeseth
- Lyle Foster
- John Griesemer
- Bob Hammerschmidt
- Sally Hargis
- Allen Kunkel
- Stephanie Montgomery
- Matt Morrow
- David Roling
- Jon Swope
- Jamie Trussell
- Craig Wagoner
- Doug Burlison
Springfield and the surrounding area will be known as being a business-friendly region with a well-trained workforce, high quality of life and development-ready infrastructure.
We encourage you to review the DRAFT Economic Development chapter of Field Guide 2030.
The Economic Development strategic planning committee had a big task when we first sat down to tackle this subject. Not only was this the first time economic development has been address in a strategic plan, but this topic also underlies the very vitality of the entire community.
We set out to answer to the questions, “How is economic development defined?” and then, “How can it be promoted in the Springfield area?” We felt our answers to these questions could be crafted in one of two ways. Nice, “flowery” responses that sound good in a strategic plan that might sit on a shelf for years — or bold, aggressive responses that say what needs to be said for the true betterment of our community.
The committee unanimously settled on the latter.
In looking for opportunities for economic development, we saw four general areas of focus: infrastructure and incentives; eliminating government barriers stifling quality growth; encouraging a strong entrepreneurial environment; and promoting the education, training, expansion and diversity of the workforce.
In looking at the “big picture” for the next 20 years, our major goals include:
- Create a competitive business climate.
- Aggressively use economic development incentives to encourage investment in the community as well as job creation and retention.
- Plan for and develop the infrastructure needed for sustainable, quality growth.
- Create and nurture a diversified workforce.
- Promote a strong entrepreneurial environment led by the private sector.
- Ensure that sufficient, suitable land and buildings are available for industrial, warehouse and distribution facilities.
- Continue the development and revitalization of center city Springfield.
- Broaden the community’s voter and leadership base.
In addition to the 20-year vision, each planning committee was asked to draft an action plan for the next five years that will put us on the path toward that vision. Our suggested actions for the next five years include:
- Consider the functional consolidation of city and county planning departments and building departments.
- Encourage City Council to focus on long-term economic development issues to avoid becoming mired in minor issues that distract from growth and progress.
- Expand the availability and capacity of pre-K and early childhood development programs.
- Ensure that the area’s K-12 school systems successfully prepare students for higher education and the local workforce.
- Improve our ability to attract and retain talented workers in the area, particularly young professionals and recent college graduates.
- Provide financial support to the Springfield Business Development Corporation in order to further business attraction, retention and expansion.
- Support the growth of the Jordan Valley Innovation Center and IDEA Commons.
- Actively pursue the annexation of areas with consent annexation agreements so those residents are allowed to vote in city elections, serve on city and county boards and increase the “human capital” available to our community.
The committee felt the majority of these goals don’t require a lot of money to implement, but rather a commitment from those involved to make each item a priority and thus increase the economic development opportunities. Our committee ultimately shared the philosophy that “a rising tide raises all ships.”
By: Bill Kirkman and Tom Rankin - Sperry Van Ness/Rankin Company