Over the past year, leaders from Allegany County government, higher education, business, and industry in the area have been meeting, researching, and debating a solution for one question that will have an enormous impact on the future of the region, namely: How to retain, expand, and attract employers? The answer comes in the form of a new blueprint for advancing Allegany County economic development.
On April 25, Allegany County Board of Legislators voted to approve a new economic development mission and vision document (pdf) that is supported by Allegany County’s Planning and Economic Development Committee, Economic Development staff, and the Economic Development Steering Committee that was formed to guide this process. Alfred State is responsible for implementing the new program that has a detailed outline including three strategies and nine objectives.
“With our colleagues from Houghton College and across the street at Alfred University, heads of business, chiefs of industry, elected leaders, and every resident of Allegany County, we are all in this together for the common good,” stated Alfred State President Dr. Skip Sullivan. “Dr. Craig Clark has been spearheading the economic development efforts for us and is deeply invested in bringing these plans to fruition. All of us know how important this is for our future growth.”
The vision statement is intended to be a source for inspiration and motivation for the future: “To be a sound economic competitor that consistently attracts, retains, and expands local businesses and industries through ongoing local, state, national, and foreign direct investments in Allegany County.” To achieve this vision, there are eight guiding principles for both public and private commitments to enhance economic development.
“Today’s legislative adoption of this new economic development mission and vision document moves Allegany County from a planning phase to implementation phase,” stated Board of Legislators Chair Curt Crandall. “Our economic development team which includes business, industry, education, and government will move in the same direction with clearly defined goals.”
The mission statement defines the purpose and direction for economic development efforts: “To provide the highest level of economic development services to retain, expand, and attract investment in businesses, industries, and supportive infrastructure.” In today’s globally connected world, business leaders know how competitive communities can be when trying to attract new companies.
“The competition to land a new or expanding employer is fierce, with communities not just competing against neighbors, but also competing against locations all around the world,” stated General Manager of GE’s Lufkin‐ RMT John Mulryan. “We are a global operation that manufactures locally in a new facility that we built in Wellsville just three years ago. To invest millions of dollars, we had to believe in this community and the quality of the workforce available.”
“A major resource we have here in this County is the three world‐class colleges and universities: Houghton College in the north, and Alfred State and Alfred University in the southern part of the County,” stated Jack Wood, Chairman/CEO Allegany County IDA. “Their presence is a tremendous asset, and it is crucial to establish a partnership of leaders from government, business, and the higher education community that lend their expertise and experience in the development of the County’s Economic Development Plan,” stated Wood who facilitated the steering committee and is now handing off the vision and mission for implementation to Dr. Clark, Economic Developer for Allegany County.