Imagine a Greater Montgomery II
|Download these documents for a complete explanation on the strategy's development process.
As the state capital region, an emerging manufacturing center, a hub of military and defense technology, and a rising recreational and tourism destination, the Montgomery, Alabama metro area continues working to capitalize on its wealth of natural and demographic resources and better diversify its economy.
In 2005, the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce, which is a fully-integrated economic development organization inclusive of the Small Business Resource Center and its incubation program, as well as the Convention and Visitor Bureau, retained Market Street Services, a community, economic, and workforce development consulting firm based in Atlanta, Georgia, to partner with area leaders to develop a five-year economic development strategy. For the process, Market Street analyzed the Montgomery area’s demographic and economic trends as well as business competitiveness, finding that, for the metro area to grow and prosper, education and workforce development, a stronger regional economy, diversity and inclusiveness,
and quality of place elements needed to be addressed.
The result of an eight-months-long strategic development process, Imagine a Greater Montgomery provided a blueprint for a higher level of investment in the four-county region’s economic and community development work. Over 250 community members participated in shaping the 2006 plan. It represented a dramatic step forward for Montgomery toward sustainable long-term economic prosperity for its companies and residents.
The research phases of the project culminated in the development of the Imagine a Greater Montgomery strategy that included four key goal areas. Under each of the goals were specific objectives that addressed the issues identified in the research and emphasized the key strategies for continued economic development success in the Montgomery region.
In 2009, Market Street returned to Montgomery for a mid-course review of the Imagine a Greater Montgomery process that began in 2006. The review found that since the adoption of the Imagine a Greater Montgomery strategy in 2006, numerous accomplishments and strategic success have been achieved by the Montgomery Area Chamber and its implementation partners, including steady growth in regional per capita income, the launch of seven K–12 career academies, vastly improved communication and partnership among elected officials, the creation of the EMERGE Montgomery young professionals program, a significantly enhanced image through downtown and riverfront revitalization, and, in 2010, the leader in the state for announced new and expanding businesses.
Imagine a Greater Montgomery II: A Next Level Strategy is the next phase in the community’s strategic process. Building on momentum from the ongoing implementation of the 2006 strategy and the shared community vision, the current Imagine a Greater Montgomery II process will leverage past accomplishments and successes to address current challenges and maximize future opportunities. Despite the blows of the national recession, the Montgomery region is in a stronger competitive position than in 2006; there is no need to “start from scratch” with a new strategy. Rather, Imagine a Greater Montgomery II will pick up where the 2006 Imagine a Greater Montgomery Strategy left off and add focus to ongoing and future efforts. The following bullets provide brief descriptions of the each phase of this process.
Inter-City Leadership Visit
The Imagine a Greater Montgomery II process began in December 2010 with a visit to Austin, Texas where the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce is currently implementing its Opportunity Austin 2.0 strategy, created in partnership with Market Street in 2007. Market Street founder and CEO, J. Mac Holladay, accompanied a team of Montgomery’s core leadership and investors to visit Austin for a day and a half of meetings with representatives from the Greater Austin Chamber and key implementation partners from the community. Market Street then gathered from trip delegates a summary of their key “takeaways” that would inspire and set the stage for the Imagine a Greater Montgomery II Strategy.
The Competitive Assessment was the first research phase of this renewed effort to develop an updated comprehensive economic development strategic plan for the region. This report analyzed the four-county Montgomery area and assessed the region’s trends and conditions in terms of (1) people, (2) prosperity, and (3) place. The four-county Montgomery metropolitan statistical area (MSA) was compared to Alabama and United States figures. To provide an even finergrained level of analysis, Montgomery was assessed against three comparison MSAs for key performance indicators: Little Rock-North-Little Rock-Pine Bluff, Arkansas; Richmond, Virginia; and Shreveport-Bossier City, Louisiana. To gather the perspectives of community members and project stakeholders, focus groups and an online community survey were utilized. Information was gathered about various aspects of the Montgomery region’s overall competitiveness and quality of life.
Target Cluster Review
The Target Cluster Review drew from the initial research and stakeholder input gathered during Phase II and provided a fresh look at the Montgomery area’s economy, given the significant changes that have occurred since 2006. Market Street’s recommendations considered the continuing strengths of the four sectors identified during the 2006 process and explored potential, emerging sectors to be considered.
Imagine a Greater Montgomery II: The Next Level Strategy
The Imagine a Greater Montgomery II Strategy is the means by which Montgomery will build upon its existing accomplishments to chart a path for continued success. The Strategy will use existing successful programs and efforts undertaken by 2006’s Imagine a Greater Montgomery as its foundation and provide recommendations for developing enhanced capacity and resources necessary to strengthen Montgomery’s competitive position in today’s 21st century economic development landscape. The Imagine a Greater Montgomery II process is about the renewal and reformation of a trajectory of quality development and job growth. This task will identify the most current strategies and best practices to address challenges and maximize opportunities facing the Montgomery area while focusing on areas that contribute to sustaining and growing the community. Ultimately, the Strategy will include programs that are innovative in addressing the new economic realities and needs of businesses, enabling Montgomery to compete in the near and long- term future. It will include opportunities to make Montgomery and the River Region a distinctive
community in Alabama and the country.