The Historic Triangle Collaborative has released a report, “Economic Diversification in America’s Historic Triangle,” which identifies goals intended to improve the quality of life and in James City County, the City of Williamsburg and York County and the economic success of the three regions.
Jim Golden, vice president of strategic initiatives at the College of William and Mary and chairman of the Greater Williamsburg Chamber and Tourism Alliance, led the task force responsible for the report. The group, which was created by the HTC in August 2009 to study beneficial strategies to diversify the tourism sector, also included Leonard Sledge of the College’s Economic Development department.
“The 13 members of the task force who worked on the report over the past year have extensive experience and expertise in economic development issues,” Golden said. “The task force drew on a number of studies completed over the past decade, assembled a new database covering the three jurisdictions and interviewed business leaders and other professionals with expertise on business creation, expansion and attraction and tourism.”
The report identified six main goals. Economic development, it advised, should focus on smaller companies and hub operations of larger companies in order to take advantage of Williamsburg’s location between Richmond and Hampton Roads.
The city and both counties should pursue more project specific collaboration, including opportunities for revenue sharing. The region’s business support system should work cooperatively to encourage, support and celebrate local entrepreneurs.
Major institutions, it asserts, have assets that can be effectively leveraged in support of economic success. It directs the local economic development community to work together to develop and promote a regional business brand. Finally, it counsels the region’s tourism industry to work cooperatively to strengthen and diversify its offerings.
“The task force did a great job, and the material they provided should help generate broad community discussion of the issues,” HTC chair Sandy Wanner said.
The HTC is made up of 12 local community leaders, including the chief elected officials and administrative officers of James City County, the City of Williamsburg, and York County and the leaders of the College of William and Mary, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, the Greater Williamsburg Chamber and Tourism Alliance, Busch Gardens and Water Country USA and Kingsmill Resort. The latter three groups represent the Anheuser-Busch InBev Companies.
The organization’s mission is to think regionally and work collaboratively to achieve sustainable economic and quality of life benefits for the Historic Triangle.