Meet John Doe: ‘Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy’ check-in

January 8, 2014

By Paul Gorski

Leaders from the local Rockford metropolitan area, including Boone and Winnebago counties, established a “Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy” for 2010-2014 in late 2009. The “vision” of the CEDS plan is:

“In 2015, the Rockford MSA will be a world-class, sustainable community with an entrepreneurial culture and a diverse economic base outperforming peer MSAs in job creation and retention, capital investment, and personal income growth. Prosperity and a high quality of life will result from investments in alternative energy, infrastructure, information technologies, quality health care, a strong talent base, educational achievement, and enhancement of cultural and natural amenities and industries.”

The CEDS 2010-2014 plan is listed at: http://www.rockfordil.com/success-stories/comprehensive-economic-development-strategy. The plan lists: goals, targeted industries, vital projects and success measures.

This may be just the picky editor in me, but the year range listed in the plan is “2010-2014” but the website refers to the “2010-2015” plan. And the “vision” statement on page 6 of the plan begins with, “In 2015, the Rockford MSA …” and on page 38 the same “vision” opens with “In 2014, the Rockford MSA …” Are we trying to buy ourselves another year of development time?

Furthermore, the plan’s maps and community involvement clearly focus on Boone and Winnebago counties, although multiple references are made to the “Rockford MSA” (Rockford Metropolitan Statistical Area), which also includes Ogle and Stephenson counties. Discrepancies aside, there’s quite a of bit good information in the plan.

There’s no shortage of opinions on local development strategies. The Rock River Times’ Editor and Publisher Frank Schier makes this point clear in “Editorial: Rockford Transformers and thankfulness” from the Nov. 27-Dec.3, 2013, issue (http://rockrivertimes.com/commentary/2013/11/27/editorial-rockford-transformers-and-thankfulness/). With groups like Transform Rockford popping up, it seems some folks think we need a little “push” to achieve our goals.

So how are we doing?

I can’t say right now how we measure up to CEDS plan. I am looking at the success measures and will be reporting on them in the future. I ask our local leaders to address these goals at their upcoming state of the community speeches, usually given at the beginning of the year. And you, as an interested resident, should contact your local leaders and ask them how that CEDS plan is going. Ask for real numbers, facts.

I also ask that we try to make our existing plans work. While not perfect, the community worked to develop these plans: CEDS 2010-2014, Rockford 2020 (http://www.rockfordil.gov/community-economic-development/long-range-planning/2020-plan.aspx), and the Winnebago County 2030 Land Resource Management Plan (http://wincoil.us/departments/zoning,-planning-and-mapping/2030-land-resource-management-plan/). Let’s go back to them, review them, and adjust our initiatives to better achieve the goals listed in those plans.

Paul Gorski (http://www.paulgorski.com) is a Cherry Valley Township resident who also authors the Tech-Friendly column seen in this newspaper.

From the Jan. 8-14, 2014, issue

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