From Amanda Lehmert at the N&R, yesterday:
GREENSBORO — The city needs economic development, leaders have complained. Soon the City Council will have a strategy to get more development.
On Tuesday, city leaders held the first in a series of sessions to create an 18-month plan for economic development.
The city might, for instance, help reinvest in old industrial areas or help developers prepare tracts of land for new development.
The council will set those goals over the next few months, Greensboro officials said.
“We have limited resources,” Assistant City Manager Andy Scott said. “There is not a lot of money to spend, so when you spend that money, you’ve got to get impact from it.”
The council met with Jonathan Sangster, a consultant who helps companies chose places to build or expand their business. He worked on Caterpillar’s recent expansion to Winston-Salem.
Sangster said companies look for a well-trained workforce, a good cost of doing business and incentives from local governments when choosing a new location. The Greensboro region earns high marks for a good cost of living and doing business, but it lags behind some cities in the Southeast in terms of population growth, another thing companies need, he said.
Workers here also may lack the skills a new company needs in prospective employees.
“I think you are poised to be competitive in a lot of ways,” Sangster said.
Channel 13 showed the video last night of Sangster‘s presentation, which I found very informative. I’m still searching for a link to the video.
According to him, Texas is the most competitive state, but we’re not far behind. North Carolina’s relatively high tax rate is a problem and Greensboro’s yearly population growth rate of 3.7% is not high enough, but our cost of living is attractive. He used W-S’s recent acquisition of a Caterpillar plant as an example. Overall, it appears we’re in pretty good shape. Of course, it’s down to us to continue preparing 100 acre tracts near major highways.
One sore point is the relative lack of flights in and out of PTI.