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NEW: Chafee Announces Next Step in Plan to Maximize Economic Strengths

Friday, November 09, 2012


Governor Lincoln D. Chafee today announced the latest in a multi-agency effort to develop an integrated approach to economic development. This effort will compile economic information, conduct economic data analysis on the state’s regional performance, and identify the state’s strengths and possible ways to improve the economic conditions of Rhode Island. The Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation (RIEDC), in collaboration with Statewide Planning, issued the request for proposal (RFP) as part of a larger initiative funded through a $1.9 million federal grant by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Sustainable Communities program. In addition to RIEDC and Statewide Planning, the Rhode Island Departments of Environmental Management, Labor and Training, and Transportation are partners in this multiagency effort to organize the state’s assets to move in the same direction to improve Rhode Island’s economic success.

“I agree with all Rhode Islanders that we need to take steps to improve the economic climate of the state. In 90 days we will have data analysis that we will use to inform decisions to use our assets wisely, prioritize our ideas and focus our resources in specific areas where we can make a real difference,” said Governor Chafee.

“Because of this federal grant through HUD, we have an opportunity to develop a whole new approach that integrates efforts across state agencies and involves community partners to mobilize our assets to create a better place for all of Rhode Island,” said Statewide Planning Director Kevin Flynn. “This partnership with the RIEDC is the first step in a larger plan to combine business growth with strategic land use, transportation, housing, environmental protection and social equity issues.”

“This data and information collection will enable us to better execute economic development strategies that bring Rhode Island the best chance of success,” said Paul McGreevy, Director of the Department of Business Regulation and Special Advisor to the Governor. “We want to understand the areas where Rhode Island excels and should focus additional resources in the short term and long term.”

The analysis covers five areas:

1. Business Climate Analysis: Analyze existing reports and compare Rhode Island’s rankings regionally. Break out the indicators used in these rankings to get a better understanding of what these indicators actually mean for the state.

2. Targeted Cluster Analysis and Validation: Identify existing industry clusters and provide insight into emerging opportunities for growth in the coming years.

3. State Regulatory Environment: In coordination with the Office of Regulatory Reform assess the State’s existing regulatory environment by identifying existing strengths as well as inefficiencies and inconsistencies within current regulations.

4. Financial Resource Assessment: Inventory and evaluate existing capital programs from federal, state and municipal sources. Identify gaps in financing.

5. Marketing Analysis: Identify and assess existing state, regional, and municipal business marketing efforts. The analysis should consider the various entities responsible for marketing, the messages conveyed and the target audiences.

This grant is one of several offered through the Federal Partnership for Sustainable Communities, a collaboration of HUD, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Transportation. The Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant Program supports metropolitan and multi-jurisdictional planning efforts that integrate housing, land use, economic and workforce development, transportation, and infrastructure investments. Rhode Island will develop the comprehensive, integrated plan through an inclusive public process with an eye towards positive and equitable impacts for all Rhode Islanders. The grant consortium of 19 member organizations is represented by state agencies, municipalities and non-profit organizations.

“It is only through collaboration that we can move Rhode Island forward,” added Governor Chafee. “This federal grant provides the opportunity to do just that to identify the most promising path to a prosperous future.”


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