Planning for Economic Prosperity
Recent Weekly Planner articles have focused on how smart planning and capitalizing on our assets can promote Economic Prosperity. This desire, to achieve Economic Prosperity, has emerged consistently with Hillsborough County residents and the business community alike. And, at our May 6th Partnering for the Future Workshop, Economic Prosperity clearly surfaced as the top major issue among our elected, appointed and university and school district officials to be addressed today and for the future of Hillsborough County.
The Planning Commission is listening and has made it our top priority to assess and develop strategies to promote and support Economic Prosperity through good planning as we look to update the Comprehensive Plans. Taking a countywide approach, we have initiated three interrelated studies to develop a compatible, competitive economic development strategy to complement various public and private efforts with the common goal of aggressive economic growth and prosperity.
These three studies are:
Urban Service Area Capacity
Intended to assess the development capacity within the Urban Service Area (USA) countywide - including the areas within the city limits of Plant City, Temple Terrace and Tampa - this analysis asks the question...
Is there adequate land available for development and redevelopment within the USA to meet the needs of anticipated population and job growth over the next 20 years?
In addition, data from this study will assist the Planning Commission with identifying and maximizing use of public facilities to amplify economic development.
Identification of Economic Development Areas
This study will identify Economic Development Areas - the places in Hillsborough County most desirable, suitable and with the capacity to attract our 'targeted' industries and businesses associated with strong economic growth. (See eNews Issue 23.) These targeted groups have been identified by public and private initiatives sponsored by agencies including, but not limited to, the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation, the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council, the Tampa Bay Partnership, and the County's Economic Stimulus Task Force.
Evaluation of the Future of Hillsborough County Comprehensive Plan Economic Development Strategy
This evaluation of the Future of Hillsborough County Comprehensive Plan goals, objectives and policies will identify existing strengths and possible impediments to the promotion and enhancement of economic development. Based on the study's findings, recommendations are anticipated as we update the Comprehensive Plans, enhancing the relationship between the Cities and County, to maximize economic opportunities Countywide. As such, the evaluation considered each policy's against criteria like ability to:
- Stimulate economic investment
- Strengthen industries and encourage development of target industries
- Maintain and support educational partners in development of a highly skilled labor pool
- Retain and/or created high paying jobs increasing income average
- Create a quality of life appealing to the creative class worker
- Identify underutilized land in existing urban areas for redevelopment
- Strengthen relationships - intergovernmental, regional, and public/private partnerships - as a catalyst for economic activity
Strategies must link land use to employment as well as provide a mix of land uses and infrastructure to lure businesses where connections can happen, productivity and creativity increase, and professional networks foster collaboration and innovation. The three studies will be completed by the end of September. Results and reports will be posted on the Imagine2035 web site and presented to each of the four local governments for their consideration as they look at updating their Comprehensive Plans. These studies will lay the foundation to build upon to address our current and future economic challenges and to ramp up our economic opportunities on the road to prosperity.