The first decade of the 2000s saw Jefferson City falling behind regional and national competitors. 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; a limited industrial base; and slow population and labor force growth. A national economic restructuring away from traditional blue-collar sectors also made the recruitment of manufacturing firms even more challenging. Recognizing that the traditional recruitment model of economic development wouldn’t suffice, the Chamber sought a more innovative approach.
The Chamber hired TIP Strategies to craft an economic development strategic plan that would guide future economic development efforts. TIP worked with the Chamber and a stakeholder steering committee to understand the city’s challenges and opportunities. This process helped TIP determine that Jefferson City enjoyed several advantages: status as the state capital, scenic location along the Missouri River, proximity to the state’s flagship university, and a charming Old Town area. TIP recommended that the Chamber assist Central Missouri in leveraging its competitive advantage while also positioning Jefferson City as a unique destination within the region. The plan emphasized several key strategies: 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 sustainable strategic partnerships.