- You need to have your sites shovel-ready. This means that you've arranged things so that the new company can come in and complete their facility in one building season. Since permits often take longer than that, all the work with the permitting and regulatory agencies has to be done before anyone even shows up to look at your site. No site in Otsego County is shovel-ready, and so right at this moment, no site in Otsego County can get on a list. Pony Farm is close, because it was shovel-ready at one time, but permits need to be updated, and regulations have changed, so work needs to be done. The Richfield Springs Industrial Park won't have water until the town and village agree on a water district, which they haven't been able to do in the past (agree, that is).
- You need a strategic plan. What are your assets? How can they be leveraged into an attractive site? Which assets do we need to protect? What business sectors do our assets fit best with? How will the municipalities work together to make this happen? Etc.
- We can't do it alone. We need to collaborate with regional development bodies, and statewide as well. We need to include the private sector. We need to know people, and they need to know us. Much of the morning was spent describing the opportunities in the high tech sector, especially nano-tech. Those projects are all associated with a SUNY facility, and we need to begin collaborating with them on a much higher level.
- We need one person to call. Anyone interested in a site in our area will not call around, and right now, that's what it takes in Otsego County. The IDA, the OCDC, the County Board, the County Department of Economic Development, the Mayor's office, private real estate agents, and lots of other individuals and organizations are busy trying to promote Otsego County. It doesn't work that way, apparently: we need one person, one phone number. That's not impossible, but we need to do it.
- You need fiber-optic broadband capability, if you're looking for the high-tech sector.
Lots of work to do, but it's becoming clearer, and that's half the battle. I've asked to be on the smaller group that Senator Seward is creating, tasked with taking what we know and moving forward. More to come.