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Thursday, January 8, 2015

Atlantic County Announces Plans for New Economic Development Strategy and Action Plan

Atlantic County government, in partnership with the Atlantic County Improvement Authority (ACIA), has retained Angeloueconomics of Austin, Texas to develop a regional economic development strategy and action plan for Atlantic County. Angeloueconomics is a nationally recognized firm that specializes in economic development and commercial and industrial site selection.

According to Atlantic County Executive Dennis Levinson, the purpose of this initiative is to broaden and diversify Atlantic County’s economic base in order to attract and create good jobs with good pay. It will build upon local economic development assets such as the FAA William J. Hughes Technical Center, Richard Stockton College, and major medical facilities.

“This will reflect a totally different approach to economic development, one which emphasizes collaboration, coordination, partnerships and a regional perspective,” said Levinson. “Under the previous model, economic development was led by state public authorities that no longer have the legislative mandate or funding for that purpose. One of our top priorities will be to fill this void and create a common vision of what we want Atlantic County to become and get the commitment from our business and community leadership to make it happen. Developing an economic development strategy and action plan is the first step.”

Angeloueconomics will work with Atlantic County's key industry sectors such as aviation, medical and health care, agriculture and fisheries, tourism and hospitality, gaming, higher education and retail, in order to maximize their potential. The planning process, expected to be completed by mid-2015, will be a very broad based effort with a strong public participation component. A schedule of community forums will be announced shortly and a public website will be created to track progress and encourage input.

The newly formed Atlantic County Action Now Partnership, an independent entity consisting of public and private sectors organizations and individuals, will serve as the steering committee for the project. Leo Schoffer of Schoffer Enterprises has agreed to serve as its chairman. Atlantic County Action Now will assist Angeloueconomics in establishing local economic development priorities, project oversight and performance measurements.

According to Schoffer it will also provide hands on local leadership in economic development so that projects can be leveraged and synergized.

"Our county must develop strategies in order to create a more competitive business environment. This is the foundation necessary to attract new business opportunities to our community,” he said.

The objective is to transform the Atlantic County Action Now Partnership into an independent, nonpartisan, self-sustaining regional planning entity that fosters regional cooperation.

“Atlantic County Action Now is intended to help open new doors and enable us to explore new opportunities, especially in the area of technology. The principles that will guide it are collaboration, partnership, and job creation,” added Schoffer.

For more information about this project, please contact Howard Kyle, Chief of Staff to County Executive Dennis Levinson, at (609) 343-2368 or John Lamey, Executive Director of the ACIA, at (609) 343-2390.

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