Since its last meeting in July, Loudoun County’s Economic Development Commission has been busy outlining a committee work plan review to figure out what specific topics are necessary to continue Loudoun’s economic success.
While 25 initial topics were dissected by 26 EDC members, a list of the 20 was unveiled at the EDC monthly meeting Sept. 7.
Michelle Frank, director of Government Relations with Orbital Sciences Corp., tallied the votes cast July 13 and during her presentation specifically focused on the top 10 topics voted on by the commission. There was a significant drop off in votes after topic 10.
“What we found was that the priorities were split up into five areas: County Operations, DED Support, Workforce, Tourism and Culture and Transportation and Land Use,” Frank said. “A lot of the little topics or action items or things we would like our committees to accomplish fit into those little five bubbles.”
According to Frank, the top two topics were related to Rail to Loudoun.
The overwhelming top choice was reviewing the supporting infrastructure and road network to support the newly approved Rail to Loudoun.
Second, also related to Rail and centered on developing plans at future Metro stations was to maximize the economic development in those promising areas.
Third on the list was growing air cargo operations at or near Dulles Airport, a topic that has been discussed before.
Loudoun County Department of Economic Development Director Tom Flynn addressed that in an article the Loudoun Times-Mirror published April 25.
“From our perspective there are a couple of economic developments around that. One is it helps the logistics business that will develop around Dulles and helps to diversify our economy,” Flynn said. “Two, the 400 acres that Dulles has inside the perimeter fence is a tremendous asset that over the next 10 to 15 years would really help grow Dulles’ capacity not only in air cargo, but also in passenger freight as well. So anything that can help bring more flights into Dulles we believe helps Loudoun by giving us more connections particularly internationally.
“Thirdly, we are also seeing international manufacturing companies that set up 20,000 or 30,000 square foot operations around airports and bring in an almost finished product into the U.S. and do the finishing work here and ship it back out through the airport, like pharmaceutical manufacturing,” Flynn said.
Other topics within the top 10 include providing inputs to ZOAM review in order to foster a stable, predictable and efficient regulatory climate; establish a five-year economic development strategic plan and metrics; identify transportation and infrastructure improvement opportunities; identify opportunities to further promote Visit Loudoun, identify inhibitors to growth; identify potential “game changers” to drive the county’s economic development vision and support DED efforts; and determine need for workforce housing.
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