LVEDC Undertaking Outreach Efforts With All Lehigh Valley Municipalities
By Colin McEvoy on December 2, 2014
President John F. Kennedy once said, “A rising tide lifts all boats.” That’s certainly the case in the Lehigh Valley, where strong economic development that helps the region will ultimately help each of the region’s townships, boroughs and cities. But in order for that to happen, a strong understanding of the needs of each and every one of those municipalities is necessary.
The Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corp. (LVEDC) is undertaking a new outreach effort to meet individually with representatives from all 62 municipalities in Lehigh and Northampton counties. During those meetings, LVEDC will learn the development priorities of each individual township and borough, and discuss what specifically LVEDC can do to help facilitate those efforts, establishing a road map of development needs for throughout the entire region.
“It’s important that we touch base with all 62 municipalities in forming economic development strategy,” said Don Cunningham, LVEDC president and CEO. “In the past, LVEDC has worked primarily with the larger governments in the region, but much of the development occurs in some of our smaller municipalities, so it’s critical we be engaged with the policy-makers and administrators in all the municipalities across the Lehigh Valley.”
Andrew Kleiner, who was recently named LVEDC’s director of redevelopment and external affairs, has visited about a dozen municipalities so far, starting with northwestern townships like Lowhill, Heidelberg and Weisenberg, as well as other Lehigh County municipalities like Coplay, Hanover Township, Lower Milford Township and Whitehall Township. He hopes to finish meeting with every municipality in both counties by the end of January.
“I want to hear their stories,” Kleiner said. “We’re 62 municipalities, but we’re also one region. I want to understand the needs of each and every one of these municipalities so we can learn how to make every one of them the best they can be and move the Lehigh Valley forward from an economic development perspective over the next few years, because by helping tell their stories, it will help tell ours.”
LVEDC also plans to establish a Local Government Council with representatives from all 62 municipalities to meet on a regular basis throughout the year to discuss economic development needs. Additionally, Kleiner plans to establish sub-regional meetings on a semi-regular basis to discuss the needs of those specific portions of the Lehigh Valley.
Whitehall Township Mayor Ed Hozza, who has already met with Kleiner, said he strongly supports LVEDC’s new efforts, which he believes will be beneficial to both the individual municipalities and the region as a whole.
“I feel it’s an excellent idea, especially for the townships and boroughs who do not have full-time, in-house communication and economic development departments like the cities have,” Hozza said. “I’m thankful for this new initiative, and we look forward to working closely with LVEDC.”
For more information, contact Andrew Kleiner at 610-266-7619 or via email at [email protected].
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