Economic and Community Development
Building a United Front in St. Louis
A Post-Dispatch article from last week chronicles the long journey St. Louis has made over the past fifteen yearstoward regional cooperation. It is a familiar story – fragmented local jurisdictions slowly learning to present a united front, rather than compete, to attract investments and jobs to the region - with a familiar hero – the local chamber of commerce. Here’s an excerpt:
“When Dick Fleming arrived in 1994 to run St. Louis' economic development effort, he found a landscape that looked more tribal than regional.
Various city and suburban agencies made their own pitches to employers wanting to move or expand — in competition rather than cooperation. Some counties defined success by how many businesses they could lure from the city of St. Louis. ….
As part of the RCGA's first regional plan, which launched in 1995, Fleming made the various cities and counties agree to a no-raiding pledge.
They had to stop recruiting companies on one another's turf. They can't publicly disparage any part of the St. Louis area. If approached by a company from within the metro area, they must notify the company's current city or county to see if its needs can be met there.”
This is great earned media on an issue that doesn’t get enough public attention. It also highlights the important work done by the local chamber of commerce.
Check out the full article - RCGA works to unify a divided region