Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Council officials discuss economic strategy

Delaware County Council Chairman Tom McGarrigle said Tuesday that the county is moving forward with the creation of an economic blueprint for the future, known as a Local Economic Development strategy.

“Our goal is to have key stakeholders create an economic blueprint, or strategy, that guides us,” said McGarrigle during a “State of the County” address at Town House Restaurant in Media. “To start, we are identifying the people, the public institutions, businesses and community organizations that impact our local economy.”

McGarrigle credited Councilwoman Colleen Morrone for working on this initiative. Back in January, council asked Frank Carey, director of the Office of Employment and Training, and Patrick Killian, director of the Commerce Center, to work together to create an economic and workforce plan.

Morrone said the plan will help county officials identify economic development opportunities for the next 10 years. She said council wants to create a steering committee of about 13-15 business leaders in the community.

In addition to creating the economic development strategy, council is focused on the closure of the Sunoco refinery in Marcus Hook and the ConocoPhillips refinery in Trainer. The county’s Office of Employment and Training opened a transition center for former refinery employees at the United Steelworkers Union Hall in Linwood earlier this month.

In addition, county officials have applied for a $5 million national emergency grant, which the state has forwarded to the U.S. Department of Labor. If approved, the grant will be used for temporary staff at the new job training center and additional services to assist the former refinery workers.

“Just last week, council requested a study of the Sunoco refinery property to help determine the best possible uses for this valuable site,” said McGarrigle.

McGarrigle also highlighted successes in the county during the event, which was hosted by the Delaware County Chamber of Commerce. Some of the highlights include the creation of 500 jobs at SAP in Newtown Square, major films being shot at Sun Center Studios in Chester Township and the new YMCA coming to the former bubble gum factory in Haverford.

You can read the whole story here.

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