Vista 2025 Report Has Important Messages For Us

October 16, 2014

Via: Daily Local News

There are some very important messages coming out of a recent report from the Vista 2025 partnership plan and they are: don’t take anything for granted, don’t rest on your laurels and don’t assume that what worked yesterday is going to work tomorrow.

But fear not, all is not gloom and doom. Chester County apparently is in a unique position, one of which not many areas around the country enjoy like we do.

And according to the recent report, economic growth for Chester County is as dependent on preserving natural beauty as encouraging business growth.

The Vista 2025 partnership plan between the Chester County Economic Development Council and Chester County will help keep the county growing going forward, said Tom Filippo, co-chairman of the Vista 2025 Executive Alliance.

Business and community groups were interviewed to develop goals with the assistance of TIP Strategies of Austin, Texas. The plan released Tuesday at a meeting at Penn State Great Valley suggested goals and strategies for officials to consult over the next 10 years.

Jon Roberts, the principal at TIP, said the level of diversification of the economy in Chester County was unique in the United States, and has helped it weather economic problems better. He said, however, that officials cannot take that position for granted. Developing an economy was not just about job growth, but what kinds of jobs.

There was a chance of “getting this wrong” if the county followed a natural tendency of riding past success, and not stay alert to what got it there. That is probably the most important statement to come out of the report.

Roberts warned that the changes to the national economy from the last recession have changed some of the rules for communities to be economically successful. Not every current successful suburban area will be successful going forward, he said.

While county government has to continue to support Chester County as an attractive place to work, to live, and to raise children, it also has to continue to make Chester County a place that people want to come to, said Roberts.

Agreed. And that’s where many cities and towns have fallen down making the fatal error of not continuing to look forward.

For example, he warned that some parts of the United States are finding that office parks that were once successful are being abandoned by companies because employees find them too sterile and too difficult to get to.

To counter that, communities are starting to look at redeveloping office parks into multiple use areas, he said.

One thing that Chester County should do is to engage young people in both business creation and civic affairs, said Roberts.

The Vista 2025 plan is a continuation of planning for development off Chester County’s Landscape proposals. Those plans have emphasized preserving open space and encouraging development and redevelopment in the county’s urban areas.

But finding the perfect balance is the toughest part of the equation. And certainly the “looking forward” part isn’t easy. If it was we would never have suffered through any recession.

But this report offers hope and confidence that Chester County is headed in the right direction.

And for the half-million people who live here in Chester County that’s something to be proud of.