Officials of the Cumberland County Improvement Authority announced that the organization’s 2020 Economic Development Strategic Plan will soon be updated to ensure the continued creation of jobs and business growth in Cumberland County.
“In the seven years since the distribution of our 2020 Strategic Plan, there have been substantial economic development changes in the County, mostly pertaining to our renewed focus on project development,” Gerard Velazquez, Executive Director of the CCIA explained. “Even more important is the fact that Cumberland County realized more than $110 million in private investment just last year and this investment led to the creation of over 900 jobs in our area.”
Notable projects completed by the CCIA in the last three years include the new John Scarpa Technical Education Center and the Center for Workforce and Economic Development, both located on or adjacent to the campus of Cumberland County College. “These two new workforce development resources along with the College now comprise the county’s ‘economic development triangle’,” Velazquez noted. “This stronger model was devised to help us attract and support business – it demonstrates our commitment and our valuable resources to meet the specific demands of business and industry.”
As part of the 2020 Plan, the CCIA has developed a partnership with Rutgers Food Innovation Center resulting in a Food Specialization Center project in Bridgeton. “This facility, when completed, will be a place where developing companies are provided much-needed flex-space, business support programs and other resources to successfully launch their products in Cumberland County with incentives to remain here as they grow,” Velazquez added.
“We have also met our objective in the plan to completely transition the role of economic development in Cumberland County to the Improvement Authority allowing us more flexibility in financing and efficiencies so that more projects and advancements can be achieved.” According to Velazquez, shared services with municipalities such as fleet maintenance are now also being administered to provide economies of scale to the County. “The administration of programs like these as well as project development and management efforts enables us to contribute more than 1.2 million annually back to the County.”
Other projects spearheaded and/or completed by the CCIA include the 275 Delsea Drive Professional Services Campus in Vineland which includes the new Division of Motor Vehicle building in Vineland, the Cumberland County College Arts and Innovation Center in Millville, and restoration of the East Point Lighthouse, a historic federal landmark in Maurice River Township.
The CCIA coordinates various boards and committees made up of local business and organizational leaders who help guide and facilitate the Economic Development Strategic Plan. The Cumberland County Economic Development Board, the Business and Industry Committee, the Economic Development Steering Committee, and County Administration are all taking part in the CCIA’s Strategic Plan update. The updated strategic plan, under the facilitation of Triad Associates with Dr. Kim Ayres leading this process using the sub-committee and economic development board, is expected to be completed by July.