AIA Announces Recipients Who Will Be Part Of SDAT Program

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has officially announced seven communities who will be part of the SDAT program.

The SDAT (Sustainable Design Assessment Team) provides a group of professionals that will assist a variety of communities with creating sustainable environments. Many experts in preservation, land use, sustainable and economic development, real estate and transportation have assisted up to 54 communities across 34 states. One of the design directors of AIA Erin Simmons also points out that nearly 35 other disciplines have taken part in the sustainable development program.

The first community that will be assisted by the AIA is the region of Augusta, Georgia. The regions of Bethlehem and Laney Walker have experienced a positive transformation since the year 2008 in Augusta. The Community and Housing Department in Augusta is also looking to revitalize the areas of efficient landscaping and the reduction of pollution.

The second community that will receive assistance is the area of Austin, Texas. The sustainable program will assist with the ultimate preservation of the lake called Lady Bird. The third community that will be affected is the area of Sipaulovia Village, Arizona. Sustainable development plans will be created through the newly created master plan for the surrounding region in Arizona.

The fourth community that will receive assistance is the region of South Hadley, Massachusetts. Issues that will be addressed and fixed in South Hadley include the lack of jobs, increase in flooding and public spaces that are lacking.

The region of Springfield, Illinois is also going to receive assistance as they are focusing on creating a plan which will address the population. The other 2 regions that will be helped out by the AIA include Stanwood, Washington and the area of Wenatchee, Washington.

Overall, the AIA and the SDAT program are going to help many regions across the U.S with sustainable development plans.

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Sandy Springs, Georgia Moving Forward in Economic Development Plan

The region of Sandy Springs in the state of Georgia has made monumental steps towards economic development over the past year.

The first part of the economic development plan was the passing of a budget that summed up to $175,000 dollars for economic development around the region of Sandy Springs. The second part of the plan was the funding of nearly $300,000 dollars that was going to be utilized for a downtown plan for the area of Sandy Springs. A policy for economic incentives was also included in the economic development plan.

During the month of December in 2011, an economic development manager was hired to overlook the plan in the Sandy Springs region. For the start of the New Year 2012, Sandy Springs also implemented an advisory council for economic development in January. Nearly $500,000 dollars in money from taxpayers has been set aside for the economic development projects. The council members for Sandy Springs hope that the tax base can be increased while also creating new jobs in the region. The councilman for Sandy Springs John Paulson elaborates on how the council saw other cities implementing the same economic strategies and believed it would lead to an increase in the business sector.

John Paulson also states that economic development had to be a number one priority for Sandy Springs in order to attract new businesses that were migrating to the region. Another important factor of the economic development plan is the downtown master plan. The councilwoman named Karen Meinzen states that the future for Sandy Springs is dependent upon the downtown economic plan. Quality development is pivotal to Karen as the town center is constructed and reconstructed. The establishment of the development manager is also significant as priorities are managed efficiently for the city of Sandy Springs.

Overall, the economic development plan in Sandy Springs will assist the surrounding community.

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Whitfield County, Georgia Receives $1.4 Million Dollar Grant for Enterprise Drive Improvement

The region of Whitfield County in the state of Georgia received a grant that adds up to $1.4 million dollars for improvements on the Drive of Enterprise. The Administrator of Whitfield County Mark Gibson received word that the grant was going to be approved by the “Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration” in the month of December. The grant was going to be utilized for road improvements on the Drive of Enterprise. A brand new Engineered Floors facility which focuses on flooring and carpeting has also been established on the Enterprise Drive.

The Administrator Mark Gibson elaborates on the impact of the road repairs on Enterprise Drive. According to Mark Gibson, the Enterprise Drive road does not lead to the South Bypass. The $1.4 million dollars in grant money will be able to efficiently connect the South Bypass and the Enterprise Drive. Mark states that an access point will be created as the intersection will allow cars to easily access Enterprise Drive. Many individuals and cars have to turn on Howell Drive to get to Enterprise Drive which is a large inconvenience to the city and the people. The engineering process for the road extension has begun already but the actual construction will start to begin in the late part of 2012. A completion date has not been determined but the Whitfield County wants to finish the construction job as soon as possible.

Mark Gibson points out that a requirement has been set with the grant as a percentage match has to be met. The sum of the money will be able to pay for the majority of the work that has to be done though. Whitfield County also received a $1 million dollar grant the past year for the improvement of the road near Carbondale Business Park.

Overall, the $1.4 million dollar grant is going to benefit the community in Whitfield County as jobs are created and commuters can travel to work more efficiently.

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Economic Development Road Map Created for South Cumberland, Tennessee

The region of South Cumberland in the state of Tennessee has created a strong road map that will lead towards economic development.

The future economic growth plan has been written in a 65 page memo which describes the vision for the future. The plan focuses on nearly 4 million acres that encompasses the states of Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee. The nonprofit organization called Land Trust for Tennessee came up with the conservation plan to boost the region. The environmental institute of Sewanee also assisted with the construction of the economic growth plan.

The Project Manager of Land Trust Chris Roberts elaborates on how the plan integrates the economic development aspect and conservation ideals. The region of South Cumberland wants to make sure that the economic development is implemented without compromising the safety of the community and the natural habitat.

Chris Roberts also points out that the stakeholders of the potential project and the conservation organizations need to work together in order for the vision to be successful.

The economic growth plan focuses on the development of homes that are in close proximity to natural regions and the state parks in Tennessee. Conservation strategies will also be discussed because of the various paper and timber companies in the region.

Another goal of the growth plan is to properly identify certain areas that need a special type of protection such as wildlife refuge that is located at the Paint Rock River Shed in a county in Tennessee. Chris Roberts wants to make sure that the region does not lose its sense of what is important during the economic downturn. Various types of conservation strategies will also be implemented with the economic growth plan.

The economic development plan will not only benefit the community of South Cumberland but will also assist the environmental as a whole.

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Economic Development Study of Cobb County, Georgia

The Cobb Chamber of Commerce in Cobb County, Georgia is conducting a study about advancing economic development within the county in the future.

The findings of the study are expected to be completed by January 2012, and speculators believe the end result—an economic development strategy—will be closely reflective of the Partnership Gwinnett effort. Partnership Gwinnett handles economic development in Gwinnett County and has 6 employees supporting the organization. Partnership Gwinnett was created in 2007 as a result of a similar study and has a budget of approximately $1 million. The budget is strongly supported financially by public entities, including the county’s public school district, county commission, and individual cities. The Cobb Chamber’s COO Demming Bass has said that he plans to ask the Board of Commissioners and the Cobb County School District to assist with funding for the economic development plan that results from the study.

Demming Bass also notes that he hopes to secure the majority of the funding for the plan from the private sector. “The difference between Cobb and Gwinnett is the economic realities and the fact that you’re having cutbacks and budget issues,” Bass said. “I don’t see us going to them and asking for huge amounts of money. We’re going to lean heavily on the private sector for this.”

The Cobb Chamber hired Market Street Services, an Atlanta-based company, to conduct the study. Market Street was also the firm hired by Gwinnett County to lead its economic development strategy process. Market Street was hired to find opportunities to strengthen economic development in Cobb County. The firm is expected to recommend allocating additional funding to economic development in the county.

One of the reports for Cobb County developed by Market Street notes the importance of cooperation within communities in successful economic development. “It is Market Street’s belief that, at the county level, non-profit economic development organizations with missions and operations that advance economic development throughout a county and its various municipalities are the most appropriate entities to serve as this primary point of contact,” the report states.

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Detention Center in County of Glynn, Georgia

The county of Glynn in the state of Georgia has established a brand new site and particular designer for the detention center.

The commission for the county of Glynn picked a site which is located north of the city of Brunswick and the former site of the Sunset Drive-In. The deal has not yet been established with the Honeywell Corporation but the commission plans to finalize the site selection in the near future. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved the land near the drive thru location but the detention center will require the extra 14 acres of the facility next door.

The commission has also announced IPG Incorporated as the architectural company which will help design the brand new detention center in the county of Glynn. IPG Incorporated also nearly beat out 10 other companies who were competing for the project as well. The construction of the brand new detention center is expected to start during the summer season in 2012.

There has also been a great debate within the community factions as one group wanted to expand the facility area in the downtown region and the other group wanted a brand new facility in the county. The bickering has ended now as a brand new detention facility will be established in the county of Glynn.

There are also many people who are opponents of the expansion process as they worry that the consequences are going to affect the community in a negative manner. The process of choosing the most appropriate developer was also pivotal as the commission was looking for a company who would build the detention center at a lower construction cost but would also maintain a high sense of quality.

The initial IPG bid was set at just under $1,100,000 dollars with a maximum construction price of $23 million dollars that was set by the commission.

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Top States for Doing Business

A survey conducted by Area Development magazine lists the top 10 states for doing business.

The list was compiled by AD magazine based on how they scored in 12 site selection categories, as rated by a select group of prominent location consultants. The top five states managed to get into the top-5 choice in at least 8 of the 12 categories.

Here’s the full list of states, followed by excerpts of the analysis provided for the top states.

  1. Texas
  2. Georgia
  3. Alabama
  4. South Carolina
  5. Indiana
  6. Louisiana
  7. North Carolina
  8. Tennessee
  9. Mississippi
  10. California

Texas topped the list as leading the economic recovery, and for an overall business environment (business friendliness, incentive programs, corporate tax, and the cost of doing business).

It also scored high in terms of labor costs and availability, and in terms of infrastructure (shovel-ready programs, utility rates, rail & highway accessibility, and access to global markets).

It’s not surprising that the South and Southeast dominate the list topped by Texas, with California as the only outlier in the West.

“The high rankings awarded to Texas and many Southeastern States do not surprise us,” said Andy Shapiro, managing director for Biggins Lacy Shapiro & Co, in a quote given to AD magazine. “These states tend to feature generally well-organized economic development and work force development efforts and historically lower wages and other costs of doing business.”

Bob Hess, Executive managing director for Newmark Knight Frank, concurs with this analysis. Said Frank, “My opinion is that consistency in business development policy and predictability in business climates across multiple critical location factors will always be rewarded and recognized by corporate America no matter the state of the economy.”

Louisiana, which wasn’t in the top 10 list compiled by AD magazine last year, has shown admirable improvement that points to good administration.

In a statement, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal lauded his state’s efforts at improving the business climate and workforce development programs. Said Jindal, “Louisiana’s high ranking by Area Development shows that site selection consultants are taking notice of our improving business climate and our workforce development programs.”

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