Tangible economic development takes time and must be ongoing to be successful: Part one

As with any long term vision and strategy, economic development is a long term ongoing process that takes time, work, investment, and leadership.

It’s often felt by some that economic development reaps major rewards on a regular basis, but as the main word “development” describes, this is an ongoing process. It is also conventional wisdom that economic development is only major industry development. This is only a very small fraction of what economic development really is. However, the one caveat is that regardless of what the activity is, it will take time.

According to Merriam-Webster, development is “the act or process of growing or causing something to grow or become larger or more advanced; the act or process of creating something over a period of time; the state of being created or made more advanced”

A process of visioning, consensus building, issue identification, and innovative change are all part of the equation. Integration of multiple industries to collaboratively grow wealth for a community is also included.

For example a trail project or urban park project may not be considered by some as economic development, however, let’s think about what the quality of life improvement will invigorate downstream. In part two of this Michigan State University Extension series we will follow the process of this fictional project to see how a simple park project can lead to some long term, highly impactful environmental, cultural and economic improvements for the community and its citizen’s true economic development!

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