Dare County put out a call for help this afternoon to residents and local business owners.
The county is working with two contractors --
North Carolina State University and RTI International -- to develop an
economic development and diversification plan.
"Your involvement and input are critical to our success," the county said today on its website.
Specifically, the county wants as many folks as
possible who live, work, and own businesses in Dare County to take a
short amount a time to answer a survey that will help the
contractors craft their economic development recommendations.
"We are asking residents and local business
owners to share their opinions and attitudes in relation to local
growth, quality of life, and economic development for Dare County," the
posting on the website added. "Please complete the online survey and
share the link with others."
The survey can be accessed by either clicking on https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/Dare_County_0816 or copying and pasting it into the browser on your computer, tablet or smart phone.
It should take less than 20 minutes to complete. And all responses are anonymous.
County officials says say the survey data will be
an important part of understanding what growth and economic development
policies residents and business owners support.
"The more responses we receive, the better
informed we will be to address key issues about your local economy,"
the county said.
The surveys should be completed no later than Monday, Sept. 12.
The county hired the two contractors -- N.C. State and RTI -- in
January to develop the economic development plan at a cost of $58,640
with $14,660 due on signing in January and the remainder in payments in
April, July, and October.
At a January meeting of the Board of Commissioners, Commissioner Jack
Shea noted that the proposed plan is not a "museum piece" but a
"living, breathing" way forward.
The presenters from N.C. State's Office of Outreach and Engagement --
Dan Parks, associate executive director, and Rex Raiford, northeast
regional manager -- stressed the same point.
Parks called the plan "visionary and practical" and not an "academic
endeavor." The plan, he said, develops a "high-return strategy" not one
that "will collapse of its own weight" and "sit on a shelf somewhere."
The proposal breaks the specific work into three tasks:
N.C. State's proposal would gather information from
community "ideation" sessions, interviews with economic development and
community leaders, and web-based surveys that will reach broad
cross-sections of citizens and other stakeholders in the county.
- Scan the current economic landscape. RTI
will summarize the current landscape so that all leaders and
stakeholders are grounded in a common understanding of Dare County's
economy before developing a strategy.
- Develop an asset inventory. Community
assets will include schools, community colleges, key employers, key
government organizations, business incubators, and chambers of commerce.
- Document best practices for diversifying
coastal communities. RTI will identify three tourism-centric
coastal communities that have successfully diversified into other
sectors. Once the communities are identified, RTI will speak with each
to better understand its strategy for diversification and reasons why
its strategy worked.
The proposal includes drafting a written action
plan for going forward with economic development and how it will be
handled by the county -- such as with a county economic development
office or a public-private partnership of some sort.
Parks and Raiford said that implementation is where most economic
development plans fail and to avoid that for Dare County, the N.C.
State team will stay with the county for six months of plan execution.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Click here to read a related Editor's Blog, Dare County will focus on economic development in 2016.
Click here to read the Economic Diversification Plan proposed by N.C. State University Office of Outreach & Engagement.