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Businesspeople Asked for Input on Economic Strategy for the Region

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Courtesty of Greater Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce

A plan for an economic recovery from the pandemic, as well as long-term economic development was shared with local business owners this week. The Fairbanks North Star Borough’s Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy is up for a review. A consultant presented the plan to the Greater Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce.

The borough’s Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy or  (CEDS) was last updated in 2016. Shelley Wade of Agnew::Beck Consulting, is the project manager for the update.

?“This process is really the opportunity to identify projects, so very specific projects., And make recommendations that help businesses create more and better paying jobs.”

Wade says the plan should get input from everyone in the community to help develop resilience in the future.

“For times when significant events like the pandemic happened, what plans do we have in place to adapt and be able to adjust in a really nimble way, did those kinds of changes.“

The CEDS brings the private, public, and non-profit sectors together to develop a locally based, regionally-driven economic development plan. Wade says it provides a guideline for local government and community action. It is typical, she said, to look first at the industries that bring in money to the economy, like the University and Research, Oil and other Energy companies, Health Care, the Military, Mining and of course Tourism. But she said other influencers shape the economy and the community.

“We cannot forget them or dismissed them, from this conversation because it’s absolutely critical that we understand the community influencers.”

She listed Communications, Housing, Quality of Life, Transportation and Utilities.

“And those are really the supportive foundation or those pieces that those key sectors, they really rely on those to grow and flourish.”

Wade says the team is collecting data and research on the local economy, and will begin analysis. In the meantime, they have started to meet with businesses in the tourism, mining and agriculture sectors and will continue with stakeholder meetings in the fall. They are also trying to find businesses that aren’t historically part of the local economic base.

“Certainly Fairbanks and Alaska, the idea that of uncertainty is not new to us. Think about an economic portfolio for the Fairbanks North Star Borough and the interior that it’s not overly reliant on one sector.”

The team updating the plan are scheduling Community Open Houses this fall, leading up to an Economic Summit early next year. Comments can be made on the borough’s Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy website:  https://fnsbceds.com/