Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Economic Summit Addresses Regional Ties

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Economic Summit Addresses Regional Ties

Article excerpt

No more us vs. them.

The consensus of participants at the 1998 Economic Summit, said

Clay County's representatives at the event, was that the key to

Northeast Florida economic development is for area leaders to

communicate, cooperate and adopt a regional perspective.

And the summit, held in Jacksonville on Thursday, went a long

way toward forging the close ties and understanding that what

happens in one Northeast Florida county affects its neighbors,

they said.

"I thought it was a very productive day," said Orange Park Town

Manager John Bowles. "We got to hear how other people are

feeling. . . . None of us are islands to ourselves. We need to

reach out to our neighbors."

Clay County Manager Bob Wilson agreed.

"I think our role was to make them aware of us . . . and what

all they could do to us. It has to do with cooperation," he

said.

About 500 people participated in the summit, which was

sponsored by Jacksonville Mayor John Delaney and the

Jacksonville Economic Development Commission.

Participants separated into five groups and discussed regional

economic development; tourism; international strategies;

neighborhood economic development and small business; and

transportation.

Those discussions produced a list of broad-based

recommendations, several of which referred specifically to

regional cooperation. Delaney said afterward that he planned to

create a regional communication task force that would involve

elected county and city officials in Northeast Florida.

Orange Park Town Councilman Earl Harrington said he supported

such an effort.

"The only way for us to get what we want is to work together

and get things accomplished," he said. "I hope we can all come

together and let bygones be bygones."

Wilson said that, if officials meet regularly, they will be

more likely to keep each other in mind as they plan new projects

and permit new developments. …

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