What is Economic Development, and why is it important for residents and businesses?

    It’s likely that you’ve heard of the phrase ‘economic development’ before, but if you have it’s also very likely that you’ve heard the phrase being associated with a variety of different things in your community. So, what exactly is economic development?

    Economic development is a way of developing and improving the quality of life for the members of a community (whether it be a business or an individual) by giving them options and incentives to become more prosperous, healthier, better educated, and/or have access to good quality housing. The Coral Springs Economic Development Office’s mission reflects these values through its mission statement of aiming “to improve the economic well-being of the City of Coral Springs through efforts that create jobs, retain jobs, increase the tax base, and enhance the quality of life.”

    Still need some tangible examples? No problem! Let’s look at two specific examples of economic development activity that the city of Coral Springs has helped lead in recent years:

    • The Downtown Pathway project was completed in May 2016. The project consisted of an 8-foot concrete sidewalk with pedestrian amenities such as lighting, landscaping, benches and trash receptacles. The new pathway provides pedestrian and bicycling connections from Downtown Coral Springs to Broward Health Coral Springs, The Center for the Arts, and various civic and cultural organizations along Ben Geiger Drive (NW 29th Street) and Coral Hills Drive between Coral Springs Drive and Sample Road.

      This project can be considered economic development because it promotes health and wellness, provides alternative means of transportation to residents and visitors while alleviating some traffic congestion on roadways, and acts as a means of directly connecting residents and visitors to business and other civic and cultural institutions that can educate and bring people and business together.

    • The development of a new Starbucks and a Holy Cross Urgent Care on the Northeast corner of Sample and University.

    This project can be considered economic development because it helped establish two entities in the community that have and will continue to provide jobs for residents, provide additional tax revenue for the city to then reinvest in the community, provide health services for local residents in the case of the Hold Cross Urgent Care facility, and also provide a community gathering place for individuals in the community in the case of the Starbucks. 

    What types of economic development programs or incentives does the City offer?

    In addition to helping to lead, facilitate, and coordinate economic development activities around the city, the City of Coral Springs uses a variety of tools in the form of different economic development incentive programs, in partnership with local, regional and state partners, that aim to promote economic growth in the community. Among other things, these programs generally want to achieve outcomes focused on supporting existing businesses, while also creating a business-friendly environment that will attract additional industry.

    Targeted Industry Incentive Programs

    One way that the City of Coral Springs aims to promote economic development is to offer tax refund programs to businesses or projects that help move the city towards accomplishing some of its overarching goals related to the types of businesses and jobs it would like to see brought into or remain in the community. For example, the city has a variety of incentive programs that offer tax relief to businesses and/or projects that focus on clean energy, financial services, transportation equipment manufacturing, aerospace and defense, and information technology. These incentive programs can vary in terms of the tax relief offered and additional tax relief is generally offered if employers create a certain amount of or certain types of jobs in the area.

    Workforce Training Incentive Programs

    Another way that the city aims to promote economic development is to invest in its businesses and workforce by offering training programs or reimbursements for outside training programs to new and existing businesses that focus on helping them expand upon their operations.

    In addition, the city provides training to currently employed workers so that they can keep up-to-date on new and/or evolving skill requirements and remain competitive in their jobs. This program aims to keep the city’s workforce competitive while retaining local businesses.

    Infrastructure Incentive Programs

    Transportation is an issue that affects everyone and has an impact on many areas of an economy, and the City of Coral Spring recognizes this. To alleviate transportation problems the city offers monetary incentives to transportation projects based on the number of new and retained jobs that are created by the project.

    Brownfield Incentive Programs

    A brownfield is a property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant. In order to incentivize the redevelop of these sites into places that can be utilized by the local community and economy, the City of Coral Springs offers a tax incentive program that provides relief to projects that are also linked to the number of jobs created by each project.

    Who do I contact if I own a business and I’m interested in utilizing an economic development program?

    The programs noted above are just the beginning of what the Economic Development Office can offer your business. Interested in learning more or applying for an economic development program or want to discuss business opportunities in Coral Springs? Great! You can find more information regarding the programs and contact information for the Coral Springs Economic Development Office in a variety of different ways:

    Our Website: https://coralspringsedo.com

    Email: kbartlett@coralsprings.org

    Phone: 954-346-6996

    Follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn for additional information and updates.

    What is a strategic economic development plan and how will the city use it?

    A strategic economic development plan accomplishes a variety of objectives that can be used by local government(s) and stakeholders in the community as a resource and guiding light when it comes to future economic development in a region. In general, a strategic economic development plan accomplishes three things:

    1. Provides a comprehensive overview of the current state of the economy.

    2. Sets policy direction and a unified vision for municipalities and other economic development institutions to use as a resource for future development.

    3. Identifies strategies, programs, and projects to implement to help improve the economy in the span of 1-5 years.

    Strategic economic development plans are developed using input of a variety of different community stakeholders including government staff, elected officials, advisory committees, local institutions such as chambers of commerce and other quasi government economic development institutions, community residents, business owners, and/or other key stakeholders in the community. Through a robust outreach process, various perspectives and insights are gathered, communicated, and consolidated to help inform, develop, and implement a holistic and unified vision for future economic growth in a region.

    Here is what has been accomplished to date and what remains of the planning process.

    To date:

    • An Economic Base Analysis was developed as the foundational understanding of Coral Springs’ economy. The Economic Base Analysis includes historical, current and projected trends in sociodemographic indicators like median household income, age distribution and industry mix. These indicators are incredibly important to track over time as these patterns help inform how Coral Springs has changed and how regional, national and even global economic themes will influence the future of Coral Springs.

    • In addition to data analysis, the City’s Economic Development Office, along with Camoin Associates have interviewed over 35+ individuals through 1-1 meetings and focus groups. These individuals represent a diverse cross section of Coral Springs residents, city leaders and businesses. These conversations uncover what is happening on-the-ground and reveals the potential disconnects between policy intentions and what is happening in practice.

    • Our next step is extended community engagement through an Open House (change to reflect name of event) on August 29th at 5:30-7:30. This is an opportunity for additional businesses, community leaders and every day residents to engage with the City’s Economic Development team, as well as other City departments. Through a series of interactive stations, the goal of this event is to listen, engaged, and learn the value of economic development in Coral Springs. Feedback from this event will be incorporated into the Coral Springs Economic Development Strategic Plan and will help each City department better serve residents and businesses.


    • After collecting this feedback, the Strategic Plan will go through several iterations to make sure that the actions in the strategy reflect the values and desires of Coral Springs. A draft of the plan will be presented to City Commission in the late fall. This is a chance for the Commissioners, Mayor and City Council to verify the direction of the plan, solidify support and discuss any possible revisions to ensure the plan’s goals are ambitious, yet realistic to implement.

    • After this workshop, any necessary revisions will be made. The Economic Development Office hopes the City Commission will adopt the plan at the next City Commission meeting following the workshop. From there, we hit the ground running! Implementation begins immediately and through the work of the Economic Development Office, the Chamber of Commerce and other valuable partners, the actions prioritized as most critical to achieving success will be initiated. Routine check-ins with the plan and identified performance metrics will ensure the plan adapts with changing economic patterns or development in the city.