Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Jenkins Wants JEDC to Start a Strategic Planning Effort

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Jenkins Wants JEDC to Start a Strategic Planning Effort

Article excerpt

Within the next few months, Chairman Leerie Jenkins wants the Jacksonville Economic Development Commission to begin a strategic planning effort "to continue to be all that we can be."

Jenkins wants the commission -- the city's umbrella organization for economic development -- to review the strategies of its agencies and continue the best practices, he said.

Jenkins said the effort is not a move toward creating an economic development authority, which would take legislative action. "There's been no discussion [about that]," Jenkins said Thursday after the commission's bi-monthly meeting.

That question comes up in light of the commission's growth since it was created in 1996 and formalized in 1997. The seven-member organization is appointed by Mayor John Delaney and approved by City Council.

The commission is the city's community redevelopment agency and its industrial development authority, although its decisions must be approved by City Council.

It encompasses the Cecil Field Development Office, Downtown Development Authority, Film and Television Advisory Commission, International Relations and Marketing Development Commission, Jacksonville Economic Development Co., Jacksonville Enterprise Zone Development Agency, Jacksonville International Airport/Community Redevelopment Agency, Northwest Jacksonville Area Economic Development Fund Advisory Committee, Research and Development Authority, Sister Cities Association Inc., Small Business Advisory Commission and the Sports and Entertainment Board.

Jenkins, who took the helm in February after inaugural Chairman Tom Petway stepped aside, now wants the group to decide "how we proceed forward."

"We're just trying to set the future direction and goals for the JEDC. We started off and had the challenge of pulling a lot of different entities together, and we've done a good job. . . . Now we need to look at the JEDC as it moves forward and set goals the parameters," he said.

One goal is community focus, and Jenkins announced Thursday that the commission would change venues for its meetings by moving around the city "to reach out to neighborhoods. …

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