Jefferson City (MO) Area Chamber of Commerce – Economic Development Strategic Plan
ChallengeThe plan began with the determination that the Chamber could no longer conduct economic development in a traditional manner. This decision arose from a sober assessment of Jefferson City’s strengths and weaknesses – both in Missouri and the U.S. generally. The ability to develop, retain, and attract talent was seen as a critical factor in the region’s long-term success. From a traditional economic development standpoint, Jefferson City’s challenges were well-known: distance from the interstate and major metropolitan areas; lack of large, fully-serviced business sites, limited existing industrial base; and slow population and labor force growth. Moreover, a national economic restructuring away from traditional blue-collar sectors would make the recruitment of manufacturing firms increasingly challenging.
Approach Recognizing these challenges, the Chamber hired TIP Strategies — an Austin-based economic development consulting firm — to assist in crafting a response. During the planning process, a steering committee comprised of local stakeholders was formed to work the Chamber and TIP to assist in understanding the challenges and opportunities. “Transformation: the economic development strategic plan” reflects this public input process and will guide future economic development efforts in Jefferson City and the surrounding area in the coming years.
OutcomeTIP found that opportunities still abound for Jefferson City. It is home to the state capitol, located in a scenic area along the shores of the Missouri River, and boasts a charming Old Town area that many communities would envy. Moreover, Jefferson City is in close proximity to Columbia, home to the state’s flagship university. As a result, we recommend the Chamber’s efforts should assist Central Missouri in leveraging this competitive advantage while also positioning Jefferson City as a unique destination within the greater region. Major recommendations included: focusing on talent attraction and development; jointly redeveloping St. Mary’s Hospital into a hub for education and innovation; establishing a small business corridor between the state capitol and the historic Missouri State Penitentiary; creating an entertainment/recreation district along the west end of downtown; and continuing to strengthen and leverage ties to the State and other regional entities to build sustained and strategic partnerships.
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