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Next steps from MRV Economic Summit

Following on the heels of a very successful Mad River Valley Economic Summit earlier this month, the Mad River Valley Planning District's steering committee is gearing up for its next steps.

At the June 19, 2014, meeting of the MRVPD steering committee, the committee agreed to move forward with a process to further engage the broader community on how to create a sustainable economic vision for the Mad River Valley. Members of the steering committee expect it to be ready for public debate in the fall or winter of 2015.

Steering committee chair Bob Ackland of Warren laid out a plan for MRVPD staff to move forward and the committee has approved it. The details of the process include the following:

-Add an additional sector, arts/creative, to the four sectors presented at the June 4 summit: Manufacturing/Incubation, Recreation/Tourism, Agriculture/Food Systems and Professional Services.

-Develop a MRV economic dashboard to be published in The Valley Reporter monthly and online on the MRVPD website, www.mrvpd.org, and the MRV Chamber of Commerce website, www.madrivervalley.com. The dashboard would track some of the key information presented at the MRV Economic Summit, i.e., employment, sales, rooms and meals tax collections and other relevant historic data points as well as leading indicators to be developed by each of the economic sectors defined at the summit.

-Offer measurement workshops to all community businesses that would like to determine how to measure their business more effectively and help MRV make the dashboard more relevant.

-Form working sessions by sector groups for the five economic areas in order to: (1) develop action steps to strengthen the individual sectors, (2) develop leading indicators for each sector, and (3) develop strategies that will effectively integrate individual sectors with other sectors and the broader MRV economy. Convene an all-sectors meeting to develop a total plan which would be presented to the MRV community during winter 2015.

This process will be led by the MRVPD in collaboration with the chamber. The mission of this process is to develop a vision that can be integrated into each community's municipal plan and into the strategies of local businesses. This economic vision will need to be created in the whole-system approach that meets the requirements of maintaining the MRV character and creates the quality of life revealed at the Economic Summit as an economic driver for the MRV.

Public input to questions posed at the summit is still possible until August 1, 2014, for those who weren't in attendance at the summit or did not get a chance to provide input at the summit at www.mrvpd.org/vitallity.

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