Saturday, May 24, 2008

Corridors of Opportunity

A bunch of items in the blog hopper after spending the past week exploring immigration issues. The Columburgh Corridor is making news again and threatens to overtake Cleveburgh in terms of realized economic development:

There was praise for Edward Florak, outgoing interim director of Progress Alliance, and welcoming comments for new executive director Ed Looman during Tuesday’s meeting of the Community Improvement Corp. board of trustees.

Looman, a native of Steubenville, had a long career in the newspaper industry as well as a stint in the Growth Partnership for Ashtabula County, which performs a similar economic development function in Northeastern Ohio as Progress Alliance.

Looman told the board he’s set to work on developing a Jefferson County resource guide to have it ready for the June 12 Corridors of Opportunity event being held at St. Florian Hall by the Pittsburgh Business Times. The event will see potentially hundreds of real estate professionals, developers and site selection persons from Western Pennsylvania to hear presentations on what’s available for development and growth in Jefferson County.

Actually, Pittsburgh's western frontier is framed as the last direction for the region to explore. Cranberry, Monroeville, Southpointe, and now Steubenville? Connecting to innovation in Columbus strikes me as a good idea, with Cleveland completing the economic corridor triangle.

Within this triangle are strong links to LA entertainment, NYC creativity, and DC talent. There are ample water and energy resources available, not to mention the excess of human capital (much more than the regional economy can currently absorb). Yet interstate collaboration is easier said than done. I figure that the Postindustrial Heartland will continue to forge ahead with projects such as the I-Q Corridor, which are much more manageable than a Great Lakes Union.

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