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LVEDC Strategic Plan: “Focusing on the Hard-to-Do”

By Colin McEvoy on February 15, 2022

This is the last of a series of six stories highlighting the 2021-2024 LVEDC Strategic Plan. Each article will highlight a different aspect of the report in detail. This story will be updated with links to the other articles as they are released. See also our overview story and stories about the initiatives “Telling Our Story,” “Targeted Recruitment,” and “Talent Strategies Development,” and “Knowing Thyself & Seeing the Horizon.”

While many of the initiatives in the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation strategic plan focus on specific areas like talent strategies and marketing efforts, LVEDC knows there are many different facets to an effective and comprehensive economic development plan.

That’s why the plan also includes an initiative called “Focusing on the Hard-to-Do,” which reaffirms the organization’s commitment to advocating for and support work in the areas of entrepreneurship and startups, urban asset growth and brownfield reuse, and planning and zoning tools to ensure balance in the regional economy.

The cover of the 2021-2024 LVEDC Strategic Plan.

Several efforts fall under this initiative, including voicing support for planning and zoning tools to balance e-commerce and distribution with much-needed facilities for manufacturing or life sciences through zoning, tax abatements, or set-aside requirements.

To this end, LVEDC will advocate to state and local partners on initiatives or policy changes and zoning that would improve the Lehigh Valley’s competitiveness and opportunity for economic growth and job creation, according to the plan.

“LVEDC was formed as a broad-based coalition with the recognition that a regional approach was the best way for the Lehigh Valley to be economically competitive,” Cunningham said. “With that spirit of regionalism in mind, LVEDC supports the idea of regional government councils and sub-regional planning, and a view of approaching zoning from the perspective of multiple municipalities, rather than one-by-one.”

The strategic plan also calls for LVEDC to continue and reinvigorate the Lehigh Valley Land Recycling Initiative, an advisory group focused on promoting economic redevelopment through the reuse of abandoned and underutilized commercial and industrial properties, also known as brownfields

Specifically, LVLRI will reconvene the Priority Projects process, which will identify brownfields or difficult-to-develop urban properties that need public-sector support and coordinated efforts to make them economically feasible for redevelopment, primarily as sites for manufacturing.

LVEDC will continue to build relationships with county and municipal leaders and other regional organizations regarding development priorities, marketing support, financing programs, and two-way communications, according to the strategic plan.

Additionally, LVEDC supports the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission’s efforts to develop and grow Council of Governments, regional multi-municipal organizations, to ensure  a more balanced approach to development issues.

The strategic plan also calls for LVEDC to continue to coordinate the Entrepreneurship Council of the Lehigh Valley (ECLV), an LVEDC council which is committed to listening to the region’s entrepreneurial community and identifying its unmet needs.

It is through the ECLV that LVEDC prepares and distributes LVstartup, a monthly e-newsletter about entrepreneurs and startups in the Lehigh Valley, which is distributed each first Thursday of the month. The Council also meets on a regular basis, and U.S. Rep Susan Wild attended one of its virtual meetings last summer.

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