You must know that I (and all of us at Fourth Economy) love local craft beer. It is among the first things we seek out when visiting both new and familiar communities across the country. Beyond the beer, we also love the places in which they are brewed – the small-towns and big-cities. Those revamped car dealership buildings – home to some favorites such as Fargo Brewing, ND and Kalispell Brewing, MT. That former “mom-pop” auto repair place at the end of dead-end dirt lane – visit Helltown Brewing in Mt. Pleasant, PA. The funky food trucks, local farm to table options and impromptu bluegrass open mic nights that round out the ever-changing scene and texture that is the craft brew pub experience. We love it all!
You may have missed the news out of Indiana two weeks ago – no it wasn’t about that – it was the news that Indiana became the first state in the country to launch an economic development initiative focused on Quality of Place. This effort called the Indiana Regional Cities Initiative and now supported by $84 million, is an opportunity for Indiana’s regional communities to rally together to define what they can accomplish to enhance their communities. The visionary leadership of Indiana Governor Pence and Eric Doden, former President of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, drove the creation of this initiative and it will pay dividends to Indiana’s communities for years to come.
On April 27, Fourth Economy market opportunity client The Water Economy Network (WEN) collaborated with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to cohost the National EPA Water Technology Innovation Cluster Leaders Meeting, at Pittsburgh’s Omni William Penn Hotel.
At the end of 2014, Fourth Economy in partnership with Pfaffmann and Associates and Fourth River Development Company, completed a downtown housing market study and redevelopment plan for the City of Altoona in central Pennsylvania. This is another action plan being fully implemented by local stakeholders. Several buildings were targeted as part of this study for redevelopment into market rate urban style apartments, condominiums and destination retail. Programmatic and financing strategies were also identified.
After several months of stakeholder engagement and data analysis, the City of Lebanon, Pennsylvania along with hundreds of regional stakeholders came together in May 2015 to release its new economic plan, Grow Lebanon 2020. Fourth Economy was engaged to assist the City in the plan’s development, action agenda and public release event.
This past April, Bedford County (PA) Planning Officials hosted one of several stakeholder tours of the decommissioned Rays Hill and Sideling Hill tunnels – tunnels that formerly served as Pennsylvania Turnpike auto tunnels. The vision now is to convert those tunnels to serve hikers and bikers as part of a regional trail network.
Statistics are like a bikini, what they reveal is interesting but what they conceal is vital. A variety of “black box” applications are being introduced for economic and data analysis. These tools claim to offer intelligently organized data that provides neatly packaged insights.
On the positive side, these tools are very helpful and they are democratizing economic and data analysis. They enable the user to see a variety of indicators with a few clicks, or do drill down into various industry sectors. They also enable users to easily combine and compare indicators.
New analysis highlights the economic competitiveness of counties across the Commonwealth.
HARRISBURG, PA – Fourth Economy Consulting today announced the release of the 2015 Pennsylvania County Competitive Analysis, an assessment of how counties across the Commonwealth are performing economically. At the core, the analysis is based on the company’s Fourth Economy Community Index, which examines both statistical and qualitative factors at the county-level across the U.S. within the economic factors of investment, talent, sustainability, place, and diversity.
Today’s economy elevates the value of higher education institutions to the highest degree of public awareness ever demonstrated. Higher education institutions impact their community in a host of very obvious ways, such as:
- Supporting the development of 21st century talent armed with skills to drive modern business;
- Employing a range of professionals in a sector often recognized as the largest in many small communities;
- and Initiating research and development initiatives supporting the advancement of technology and improved economic performance.
These examples speak to the common ways nearly every institution engages. Yet, what does it mean for a campus to be truly connected to its community?