Officials Attend Economic Development Symposium

By: Marcus Washington
By: Marcus Washington

September 20, 2005

Today city and county leaders attended the 7th Annual Charlottesville and Central Virginia Symposium on Economic Development. The event saw to make living in Charlottesville just a little bit better.

The goal is more businesses, more people, and ultimately more economic growth. That's what community leaders at today's symposium held at Piedmont Virginia Community College are looking to push into Charlottesville and surrounding counties.

"Community people will have better opportunities for better paying jobs," said Sue Friedman, of the Thomas Jefferson Partnership for Economic Development. "[We want to create] more high-paying jobs, both through University research spinoff, and through expanding companies who are here, and bringing in targeted companies."

Friedman said that more companies are realizing that schools like the University of Virginia are on the cutting edge of technology and research. This gives the companies more incentives for relocating near universities.

"That's where the research is, that's were the technology is, that's where the discovery and innovation is," said Friedman.

Economic developers say bringing businesses to the University of Virginia Research Park brings people, therefore it brings more business, meaning more money for the community.

Phillip Dunlap is Director of Economic Development for the City of Auburn, Alabama. Twenty-one years ago he helped form development around the University of Auburn.

"If we can create good paying jobs with very good benefits, we think that's a direction that we need to go, and that's what we've done in Auburn," explained Dunlap.

Developers here in Charlottesville say that's what they're striving to do. They say it will be a long process, but it will certainly have rewarding successes.

Developers at the Thomas Jefferson Partnership for Economic Development say they will not adopt anyone's path directly, but will use different plans to come up with a layout that will best help serve the Charlottesville area.

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