LVEDC Continues Municipal and Community Outreach Efforts During Pandemic
By Colin McEvoy on June 9, 2020
Although in-person meetings have been limited due to the coronavirus outbreak, the municipal and community outreach efforts by the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC) have continued despite the pandemic.
LVEDC is committed to a sustained campaign of visitation, connection, and conversation with all 62 municipalities in Lehigh and Northampton counties, as well as other community outreach efforts as part of its overall economic development strategy.
Since the COVID-19 crisis began, LVEDC has maintained contact with municipalities and kept lines of communication open through virtual meetings over the Internet and the distribution of LVEDC’s quarterly e-newsletter for Lehigh Valley municipal officials and staff members.
One of the initiatives in LVEDC’s strategic plan is to “continue to engage county and municipal leaders on local development priorities, marketing support, financing programs, and information sharing through website connections and enhancements, and communication vehicles.”
To that end, LVEDC has been undertaking a continuous series of visits to the region’s various municipalities over the past several years to learn about their individual development priorities, long-term economic goals, and specific economic needs.
Nathan Jones, Lower Macungie Township Community Development Director, said as the Lehigh Valley entered the “yellow phase” of economic reopening, the township had productive discussions with LVEDC about assisting businesses and restaurants capitalize as best possible on the opportunity to welcome the public back safely.
“Despite the COVID-19 health crisis, our contact at LVEDC has continued to remotely communicate with township staff to keep abreast of current business or land development matters to see where the organization can assist our municipality,” Jones said. “Lower Macungie Township continues to benefit from a close partnership with LVEDC for the continued economic health of not only our municipality, but the southwest area of the Lehigh Valley region as a whole.”
In the fall of 2019, LVEDC issued a municipal survey based on the information on regional trends that were noticed during municipal visits last year. This survey helped inform ongoing initiatives at LVEDC, including understanding residential, recreational, and development demands across Lehigh Valley municipalities.
“We’ve been meeting with municipal managers, mayors, planners, zoners, commissioners, supervisors, and other staff members to hear about what has been going on in their backyard. We also meet with organizations like as Slate Belt Rising, Wildlands Conservancy, the D&L Trail, ” said Andrew Kleiner, LVEDC Director of Redevelopment and External Affairs. “Understanding the community and economic development priorities of our public sector partners is crucial to enabling our mission as a regional connector. That level of close collaboration with our municipal partners is very important to us as an organization.”
Since social distancing and quarantine measures were put in place due to the COVID-19 outbreak, LVEDC has held about a half-dozen of these meetings virtually, and is in the process of scheduling additional online meetings moving forward, Kleiner said.
Each quarter, LVEDC also releases LV Connections, an e-newsletter specifically designed for municipal officials and other regional partners, providing information and news about the regional economy and LVEDC’s ongoing economic development efforts.
The most recent issue, released on June 4, highlighted emergency relief funding LVEDC has helped secure for Lehigh Valley small businesses. Other stories included the region’s ongoing development activity during the quarantine, LVEDC’s 25th anniversary, and the most recent column by LVEDC President & CEO Don Cunningham.
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