Council Chambers, Legislative Bldg., 745 4th St., Sparks
General Business: 9.1
The IBMers recommended that the City of Reno, the original IBM grantee, consider “university town” as a meaningful economic identity. However, when the Smarter Cities project expanded into Smarter Region, it became necessary to re-visit the issue of identity and obtain regional buy-in regarding a shared vision among all 11 entities now participating in the project. Those entities are: Cities of Reno and Sparks; Washoe County; Washoe County School District; Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada; Truckee Meadows Community College; Desert Research Institute; Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority; University of Nevada, Reno; Truckee Meadows Regional Planning Agency, and The Chamber. The Smarter Region Management Team and Action Team have been working since December 2013 to obtain that buy-in.
On May 15, 2013, the Reno City Council accepted the IBM Smarter Cities Final Report and provided direction to staff to undertake regional outreach to broaden the project to additional agencies.
On April 24, 2014, the Reno City Council approved the process of gathering community input to develop a new regional economic development brand vision.
On May 12, 2014, the Sparks City Council accepted the IBM Smarter Cities Final Report and adopted Resolution 3256 implementing IBM Recommendation #1: Ratifying the Goal of Regional Cooperation regarding Improving Economic Development Outcomes and the Proposed Smarter Region Governance Model to achieve that Goal; Change the Mindset, a New Process for Regional Collaboration on Economic Development.
On May 12, 2014, the Sparks City Council, also, adopted Resolution 2357 implementing IBM recommendation #2: Ratifying the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada being the "One Strong Voice" for Economic Development; the designation of one entity to present the Region's economic development face to the outside world.
The Summary of Community Focus Groups, Regional Economic Development Brand Vision, released on November 10, 2014, describes the process that was used to obtain community input from both the public and private sectors. The results of the process identified the following top themes:
- What exists that enables economic development and growth today?
- Our geographic location
- Having a Tier 1 University
- Our quality of life
- Our competitive tax structure
- Our airport capacity, both in terms of air service and air cargo
- What is required to enhance economic development and growth by 2015?
- A qualified, skilled workforce
- Continue improving highway and air service
- Improve downtown Reno
- What should the region aspire to be in order to achieve economic development success and growth by 2025?
- Being known as a place to get ahead, a land of opportunity
- Being known as a place with a great quality of life, with diverse recreational opportunities
- Being known as a state-of-the-art center for technology, but technology “our way,” not mimicking another region’s excellence
- Being known as a community for the forward-thinking, creative class
- Having a high quality, educated workforce aligned to the region’s industrial sectors
- Having a great university integrated with the community, especially the business community
Overall, the inputs showed the strongest alignment around the themes of quality of life [City of Sparks Strategic Goals 1-6], land of opportunity, technology and innovation [City of Sparks Strategic Goal 3], advanced manufacturing, and the educational systems that support those sectors. The participants expressed a desire to have a future identity built on Nevada’s individuality and independent spirit which incorporated our developing expertise in entrepreneurialism and high-tech fields [City of Sparks Vision: Be the City of Choice for Residents, Businesses and Visitors].
The next step of the process will be to synthesize these themes into a draft economic development brand vision statement that can be brought forward at a later date to the elected bodies for approval.
- The Council could approve the top themes that resulted from the Smarter Region community engagement process to determine a new regional economic development brand vision as presented by staff.
- The Council could not approve the top themes that resulted from the Smarter Region community engagement process to determine a new regional economic development brand vision as presented by staff.
- The Council could not approve the top themes that resulted from the Smarter Region community engagement process to determine a new regional economic development brand vision as presented by staff and provide other direction to the City Manager.
"I move to approve the top themes that resulted from the Smarter Region community engagement process to determine a new regional economic development brand vision as presented by staff."
White Paper_Economic Development Visioning Results_Nov 2014.pdf