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Cumberland County commissioners discuss economic development plan

The Cumberland County Board of Commissioners discussed economic development with the proposed comprehensive plan during the commissioners’ workshop meeting Wednesday.

Jonathan Bowser, CEO of Cumberland County Economic Development Corporation (CAEDC), and Cumberland County Planning Director Kirk Stoner presented updates to the comprehensive plan’s progress. Stoner said that as of now, project draft plans have been created.

Bowser said the plan’s process has been going on since April 2014.

“We came up with several focus areas moving forward: business attraction, business retention and expansion, visitor growth, financing and funding and stakeholder engagement,” Bowser said.

The plan’s economic goals would include increasing the commercial and industrial tax base, increasing median income and opportunities and maintaining diversified industry base.

“I think we have had great participation with our public outreach meetings,” Bowser said. “I think we have taken a comprehensive, holistic approach and outlook as far as what the next 10 to 15 years look like for Cumberland County and its economy.”

Commissioner Jim Hertzler suggested that a section of the plan pertaining to the reuse of vacant industrial retail and office properties should be left up to the CAEDC board.

“I do think that we should have some flexibility (with the properties statement),” Hertzler said. “If there is an agreement to make that minor adjustment, I think that this is an excellent plan and I fully support it moving forward.”

With Barb Cross leaving the board and Vince DiFilippo taking her place in January following last month’s election, there was discussion over whether or not plan finalization should be delayed into the beginning of 2016.

“Our intent was to get (the plan) done by the end of the year,” Bowser said.

It was determined that the plan would be discussed further during a public hearing on Monday.

Read the article from Cumberlink.com here.

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