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Monday, May 09, 2016
Economic Development Groups Sign Agreement
Paving the way for higher level of collaboration
The economic development leaders from Keokuk Economic Development Corporation, Fort Madison Economic Development Corporation, Lee County Economic Development Group, Mount Pleasant Area Development Commission and Grow Greater Burlington, the economic development division of the Greater Burlington Partnership, gathered today at the Southeast Iowa Region Planning Commission to sign a Reciprocal Marketing Agreement (RMA) paving the way for a higher level of collaboration on regionally significant sites.
“Our organizations have worked together under the banner of the Southeast Iowa Great River Region for many years and we’ve successfully collaborated on marketing projects, research initiatives and best practices,” shared David File, Chairman of the Board of the Mount Pleasant Area Development Commission. “However, in reviewing how each of our areas are benefitting from the Iowa Fertilizer Project it’s clear to our organizations that we can do business a little differently and improve our chances at landing similar regionally significant projects.”
The RMA is a one-year agreement that focuses on regionally significant sites that present the largest potential economic development opportunities across the three counties involved. The RMA establishes a new framework for how to respond to regional inquiries and empowers each individual organization to bring their strengths to the table in promoting the region’s significant sites.
“This is a first step towards seeing if we can do things differently and be more effective,” commented Dave Schwarz, Chairman of the Board of the Lee County Economic Development Group. “Because normally when you think of regional coordination you’re focused on everyone paying a fair share, developing broad strategies that are all inclusive, etc. The RMA moves us beyond that point, allowing each organization to fully utilize their strengths to benefit the region.”
The RMA also serves as the region’s response to site selectors and corporate real estate professionals shifting their way of doing business to more closely evaluate regions instead of cities and counties.
“Taking this step requires a slightly different mindset,” offered Charles L. Walsh, Board Chairman of the Board for Grow Greater Burlington, the economic development division of the Greater Burlington Partnership. “The historical way of doing business is that while we shared information we still competed individually because our communities expected results to be very local. All of us acknowledge we would still like the next big project in our back yard, but it’s as important that we make sure it ends up in the neighborhood.”