A new private-sector effort, in cooperation with the Northern Chautauqua Community Foundation, hopes to spur economic development in Northern Chautauqua County.
The group is specifically focusing on the communities within the Lake Erie watershed, that is, the towns of Ripley, Westfield, Portland, Pomfret, Dunkirk, Sheridan and Hanover, including the villages of Westfield, Brocton, Fredonia, Silver Creek and Forestville, and the City of Dunkirk. The Northern Chautauqua Community Foundation (NCCF) developed this committee to pursue a local economic development (LED) mission, to augment the county and regional economic development initiatives currently in motion.
Using a local economic development model, the group's objective is to focus efforts on strategic planning and actionable economic development strategies for the Northern Chautauqua shoreline communities. The group believes that these communities form a distinct sub-region of the Buffalo-Niagara region, and share assets and opportunities that are distinct from the rest of the county, and therefore a targeted development strategy is warranted. The model is based on those developed by the World Bank, International City/County Management Association and the International Economic Development Council.
The group recently shared the expertise of Alan Beals, former Executive Director of the National League of Cities and CEO of the Savannah Chamber of Commerce, with a group of business, education and agency leaders at a workshop held at Shorewood Country Club in November. Beals presented a discussion on "How Communities Can Work Together to Promote Economic Development" and highlighted some of the strategies that contributed to Savannah's revitalization. He stressed the importance of strategic planning and encouraged the group to address challenges creatively and collaboratively. About 50 people attended.
Diane Hannum, Executive Director of the Northern Chautauqua Community Foundation, stated, "Economic development is an important component of the Foundation's mission to take an active role in the betterment of the communities that we serve. This committee is committed to balanced representation from the targeted industries that align with county and regional economic strategies, and also to the consistent communication and engagement of the public, education and civic sectors, which include the local municipalities and their development agencies, the county Department of Planning and Economic Development, SUNY Fredonia, JCC, the Chautauqua Chamber of Commerce and its local chambers, and Chautauqua Opportunities, Inc."
Anyone interested in learning more about the NCCF- LED Committee, can contact the Foundation offices at 716-366-1270, or John Jay Warren, Committee Chair, at 716-679-8654.