Economic Development Predictions for 2006

Submitted by Ed Morrison on Sat, 12/24/2005 - 10:57.

Here are some economic development preditions for 2006:

The County will continue to develop its new strategy outlined by the Blue Ribbon Task Force. The Task Force will become CuyahogaNext Advisors. Look for new initiatives -- innovation zones -- around Baldwin Wallace and the Euclid Avenue Corridor. We will also see productive negotiations between the County and other entities such as JumpStart, BioEnterprise, and the newly renamed CAMP.

More formal collaborations around a new megafund for the County will take more time. But they, too, will develop. I'm looking for the formal announcement of a new megafund by summer.

Pressures will continue to build for a convention center and casinos. Downtown real estate interests will continue to drive the agenda of the Greater Cleveland Partnership in this direction. Unfortunately, neither of these projects has much hope of turning around Cleveland's economic prospects.

One potential problem comes in the fragile financial position of the City of Cleveland. The City's budget is balancing on a knife edge, and there could be trouble ahead. If significant budget cuts are coming -- layoffs in fire, for example -- the new mayor will likely blame the old (a predictable cycle) if he can make the cuts in the first quarter of 2006. Beyond 100 days, this strategy of blaming the predecesssor doesn't work very well.

The foundations will announce a new manufacturing initiative, and they are hoping to line up a major three year federal commitment to support the effort. This announcement could come as early as March. The Bush Administration is pushing money out the door for its WIRED initiative (combining workforce and economic development) in advance of the 2006 mid-term elections.

Voices and Choices, the foundation's major initiative in civic engagement, will continue to bounce along, even though skepticism about the effort grows. Civic leaders around the region are still trying to figure out Voices and Choices. As one economic developer told me, "What's next after the big wedding is over?" The foundations will continue the process of refining the V&C message.

Team NEO is another regional initiative that will be recalibrated in 2006. Losing the top two executives is never easy, so the foundations will likely go back to the drawing board on this one. I look for another consulting study to try to figure out a stronger strategy.

Nortech should be issuing its technology roadmap for the region sometime in 2006.

The most important economic development event of the year is likely to be the Ingenuity Festival in July. Organizers of this event have wisely connected arts and technology. This event has the opportunity to showcase a set of remarkable initiatives: OneCleveland, creative digital media, and our strong arts community. Folks in Cleveland are starting to understand that creative digital media is a major economic development opportunity.

Innovations will continue on the edges of our region. In Youngstown, civic engagement will continue with the leadership of Youngstown State and the Chamber. Akron will continue its revitalization, and Lorain County Community College will continue driving new ideas around its campus. Collaborations are continuing to form, and, as they do, new opportunities will emerge.

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On the edges

I agree with your predictions and observe innovations will continue on the edges inside the region, as well: Ingenuity Fest is a good example - FUTURE Center is another - a British biotech was in town last week looking at Cleveland for their US manufacturing and distribution center, and they were very impressed.

I predict we'll make remarkable advances many important ways in Northeast Ohio, in 2006, not because of any one person or initiative but as a result of 100,000s people in the region responding to a decade of economic transformation. I think we're finally poised to move forward.

A good early test will be whether citizens like Ed Hauser, academics like David Reed, government officials like Paul Alsenas and Journalists like Steven Litt can lead fellow citizens forward to insure we have a great outcome from rebuilding of the I-90 Innerbelt through Cleveland, and the I-90 bridge, and the "Opportunity Corridor". See http://neobridge.net

Economic Predictions

Thanks so much for a great posting.  Its good to hear plans in the works for a new megafund for the county - the Fund for our Economic Future might have a rival to provide healthy competition and possibly raise standards of accountability should comparative metrics be introduced.

I agree that the Casino is a mixed bag - despite promised revenues for schools and new job creation we have to consider dynamics such as the quality of these jobs, the element that might be attracted to said Casino(s), and the distraction that this would be for a community which sorely needs to better appreciate and participate in arts events regionally.  

I talked a bit with Kevin Cronin at the last CoolCleveland holiday event and it was great hearing firsthand the improvements planned for the next IngenuityFest.  This should help with raising awareness of arts regionally via technology and raising awareness of new opportunity at the intersection of Arts and Technology.  Creative digital media has become a new focal point at CIA- with the great work bieng done by David Moss.

The efforts 'on the edges' with Youngstown, Akron, and Lorain should be clearly documented and these civic-engagement successes should be shared region-wide as proof positive that change does happen in the Civic Space and old heirarchal bureaucracies and command-and-control strategies are antiquated and ineffective relics in the new networked economy.