Daily Times Chronicle: Town to hold community meeting on economic development – 4/23/14

READING - The town is planning a public session next month to discuss economic development trends in town.

Town officials have recently identified a need to develop an Economic Development Plan. The first step in the process will be to assess how Reading measures up to other communities in attracting and retaining local businesses.

A breakfast and community meeting has been scheduled for Monday, May 5, from 9 to 11:30 a.m. at Peter Sanborn Place, 50 Bay State Road in Reading. Participants are asked to RSVP by May 1 to jdelios@ci.reading.ma.us or call 781-942-6612.

The session will be run by town officials and the Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy at Northeastern University. Dr. Barry Bluestone, Director of the Northeastern University Schol of Public Policy and Urban Affairs will make a presentation on the Economic Development Self-Assessment Toolkit they have developed. Town Staff will complete the toolkit prior to the meeting.

“The EDSAT will benchmark Reading’s efforts to attract and better retain business investment as well as grow existing business,” said Reading Town Manager Robert LeLacheur.

The National League of Cities and the Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy at Northeastern University are proud to announce their partnership to develop the Economic Development Toolkit that will assist local municipalities to better position themselves in attracting business investment and growing existing businesses. EDSAT is the first tool in the Toolkit and is an extension of the success of the Dukakis Center’s experience working with cities and towns throughout the Northeast. EDSAT is now rolling out nationwide.

The toolkit offers a robust and confidential self-assessment tool; benchmarks for local strengths and weaknesses, written assessment based on responses in the self-assessment, and guidance on where to focus efforts.

The Dukakis Center developed the EDSAT based on findings from a survey administered to commercial real estate and location professionals from the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties (NAIOP) and CoreNet Global. These professionals ranked the significance of location factors from critical—the “deal breakers”—to important and less important. EDSAT addresses ten assessment categories using over 250 questions. The questionnaire is accessed online from a secure website.

Once the questionnaire is completed, graphical results are immediately available to the municipality and a written analysis will be provided by Dukakis Center staff shortly thereafter.

TEN ASSESSMENT CATEGORIES

1. Access to Customers/Markets

2. Concentration of Businesses & Services

3. Real Estate and Infrastructure

4. Labor Market Factors

5. Municipal Permit Processes

6. Community Quality of Life

7. Site Related Amenities

8. Business Incentives

9. Local Tax Rates

10. Access to Local Information

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