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Local Elected Officials Meet in Newly-Revamped LVEDC Local Government Council

By Colin McEvoy on July 27, 2015

A strong regional partnership between private and public sectors has long been an asset for the Lehigh Valley, allowing it to compete on an economic development stage even with larger regions. Now, collaborative efforts between the region’s local governments are growing even stronger, further bolstering that regional partnership.

About 40 elected and appointed representatives from Lehigh County municipalities attended the first meeting of the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation’s (LVEDC) newly-revitalized Local Government Council on July 22.

Gathering at the Holiday Inn in Upper Macungie Township, members of the council engaged in a spirited discussion about the economic development priorities of each individual municipality, how LVEDC can help facilitate those efforts, and what the collective group envisions for the future of economic development in the Lehigh Valley.

“For our region’s economic base to continue to flourish, we need input from the stakeholders in all 62 municipalities from Lehigh and Northampton counties,” said Don Cunningham, LVEDC President and CEO. “It’s critical that we’re engaged with the policy-makers and administrators in every city, township, and borough in the Lehigh Valley, which is why this council is so important.”

This meeting was focused specifically on Lehigh County municipalities. An additional meeting will be held at a later date with Northampton County officials.

The LVEDC Local Government Council will meet on a regular basis throughout the year to discuss economic development needs within the Lehigh Valley and to engage ideas and perspectives on such issues as planning, zoning, infrastructure, and regulation.

During the meeting, Cunningham gave a presentation about the mission and vision of LVEDC, described trends in the Lehigh Valley economy, and discussed the work of LVEDC’s councils and committees. He also engaged with audience members in an open question-and-answer session.

“It was an absolutely worthwhile step by LVEDC to ensure that we have the full input from each municipality and that everyone knows what LVEDC’s objectives are,” said Lehigh County Executive Tom Muller, who was in attendance. “We could all use more knowledge about the areas that people want to be focused on for economic development.

LVEDC has been ramping up its outreach effort with all 62 municipalities in Lehigh and Northampton counties. Andrew Kleiner, LVEDC’s Director of Redevelopment and External Affairs, began visits with officials from each municipality last year to learn the development priorities of each individual township and borough, and to discuss what specifically LVEDC can do to help facilitate those efforts.

“The Council serves to connect the activities of LVEDC with our public sector partners,” Kleiner said. “We’re 62 municipalities, but we’re also one region, and by understanding the needs of each town and borough, we can learn how to make every one of them the best they can be, and help move the entire Lehigh Valley forward from an economic development perspective.”

For more information about the Local Government Council event, contact Kleiner at [email protected] or 610-266-7619.

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