Author Topic: Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce targets six priorities for 2010  (Read 1921 times)

thelakelander

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By David Bauerlein

Mayoral candidates are taking their turns at the microphone, announcing their campaigns and outlining their agendas for Jacksonville.

The Jacksonville Regional Chamber of Commerce isn't running for any office, but the 3,500-member organization has staked out six priorities of its own for 2010. Those goals shape the chamber's strategy when it comes to lobbying and advocating for specific issues.

In addition to regional job creation, the chamber's other priorities are the campaign to sell out Jaguars home games, lobbying to fix a navigation obstacle for big cargo ships at the port, getting federal funding for a nuclear-powered carrier at Mayport, assisting in downtown development, and supporting growth of "second stage" companies.

Second-stage companies are homegrown small businesses that have made it past their start-up phase but face fresh challenges moving up to the next rank of businesses.

"We've always had priorities, but I don't think we've been vocal about them in the past," said Jerry Mallot, executive vice president of the chamber. "We're putting the message out."

The priorities were unveiled recently at a meeting of Cornerstone, the regional economic development arm of the chamber of commerce. Cornerstone works with chambers of commerce, businesses and government entities in seven counties - Duval, Nassau, Clay, St. Johns, Baker, Putnam and Flagler.

By publicizing its top priorities for 2010, the chamber is offering a scorecard for its efforts.

"The ultimate issue is how will it make us a better place, improve the economy and create jobs," Mallot said.

He said the "stretch goal" of regional job growth will be creation of 3,000 new jobs as a result of the chamber recruiting new businesses to Northeast Florida this year. He said compared to 2009, businesses have firmer timelines for making decisions. He said the number of prospects has been at 54 to 58 businesses this year, compared to hovering in the low 40s a year ago.

"What we have in the pipeline tells us this could be a very good year," he said.

The chamber also is putting more attention on its programs for helping Second Stage businesses because their success will lead to more locally produced jobs, said Sandy Bartow, vice president of small business for the chamber.

She said the chamber has been successful in the past at helping small businesses get started, and recruiting businesses to the region. The gap in the chamber's program was for helping small businesses with revenue of $1 million to $50 million get to the next level.

This year, the chamber has begun tracking about 50 to 60 businesses in the Second Stage Business Development Initiative to chart changes in revenue and employment. Business pay $1,600 to $3,000 per year to join the initiative, giving them access to speeches from executives at larger businesses and regular roundtable discussions with other Second Stage owners.

"You listen to them and they listen to you," said Joseph Dagher, president of Dagher Printing, located on the Southside. "That has been the priceless part when we can sit with our peers and learn from each other's experience."

Two of the chamber's priorities - jobs related to the military and port - will hinge largely on lobbying in Washington, D.C., for a fast-track of funding.

The chamber is working with the Jacksonville Port Authority to secure money for Mile Point, an area where the St. Johns River meets the Intracoastal Waterway. The cross-currents allow just nine hours a day for safe passage of large ships like the ones calling on the Trapac terminal that opened in 2009. JaxPort, which has estimated the fix would cost $60 million, wants to get the work done by 2013.

Expanding the port's cargo shipping "is a real pillar for the future of our economy," Mallot said. "Mile Point needs to get resolved."

The other lobbying battle is making Mayport ready to be homeport for a nuclear-powered carrier. Mallot said it would "probably be 10 years or more" if there isn't a push to accelerate funding. The chamber's "sweet spot" for the timetable is 2014 to 2016.

For the Jaguars, the chamber's goal is to boost ticket sales and reduce the number of television blackouts for 2010 home games. He said within three years, the chamber wants all home games to sell out so there are no blackouts.

In the realm of downtown development, Mallot said there isn't a hard-and-fast measure because revitalization is an ongoing task. He said downtown matters to job creation because business executives considering Jacksonville base their decision in part on how they perceive downtown.

"They look at downtown as our image, as a reflection of who we are," he said.

He said chamber officials plan to visit Greenville, S.C., to learn about its downtown redevelopment. The chamber's annual leadership trip also will target a city with a successful downtown, he said.

Mallot said a report issued earlier this month by Downtown Vision, a group representing downtown property-owners, had "some really good thoughts about what we're trying to achieve." Downtown Vision advocates focusing revitalization on a small, walkable area of downtown, rather than spreading it across the larger downtown area.

http://jacksonville.com/business/2010-04-13/story/jacksonville-chamber-commerce-targets-six-priorities-2010
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Coolyfett

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Re: Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce targets six priorities for 2010
« Reply #1 on: April 24, 2010, 01:32:11 AM »
Whos main job is it to bring jobs into their respective metros? Is it the responsibility of Chambers or the local mayor?
Mike Hogan Destruction Eruption!

brainstormer

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Re: Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce targets six priorities for 2010
« Reply #2 on: April 24, 2010, 11:55:58 AM »
Imagine if growth in the future was centered around downtown?  Think of what technology companies, health industry businesses and higher education institutions could do for Jacksonville's economic growth and image?  I think landing one big project downtown would give a huge boost to the smaller private businesses and perhaps create dynamic growth.  As the economy improves we must be aggressive in our recruiting for the future. 

urbanlibertarian

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Re: Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce targets six priorities for 2010
« Reply #3 on: April 24, 2010, 05:25:30 PM »
I think that instead of trying to land one big project COJ should consider how current taxes and regulation negatively affect local businesses and try to create a better pro-business climate here that will allow existing Jax businesses to grow and prosper and indirectly attract new ones to Jax.
Sed quis custodiet ipsos cutodes (Who watches the watchmen?)

CS Foltz

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Re: Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce targets six priorities for 2010
« Reply #4 on: April 24, 2010, 08:42:27 PM »
JEDC (Jacksonville Economic Developement Council) is supposed to be attracting jobs and business's! Is it just me or do we appear to have redundant operations all over the City!

sheclown

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Re: Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce targets six priorities for 2010
« Reply #5 on: April 24, 2010, 08:56:51 PM »
I think that instead of trying to land one big project COJ should consider how current taxes and regulation negatively affect local businesses and try to create a better pro-business climate here that will allow existing Jax businesses to grow and prosper and indirectly attract new ones to Jax.

 Silly signage regulations for starters. 

CS Foltz

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Re: Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce targets six priorities for 2010
« Reply #6 on: April 24, 2010, 09:00:55 PM »
True sheclown! Somehow the City gets carried away with its own self importance and loses sight of what is real or correct for all! Governement at its supposed best.............yeah right!

JeffreyS

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Re: Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce targets six priorities for 2010
« Reply #7 on: April 24, 2010, 09:40:45 PM »
Signage, lighting, parking gestapo, not working out Med/Law/Art schools wanting to be downtown it just hasn't been rocket science to may a go of downtown.
Lenny Smash

Coolyfett

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Re: Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce targets six priorities for 2010
« Reply #8 on: May 02, 2010, 11:10:18 AM »
Imagine if growth in the future was centered around downtown?  Think of what technology companies, health industry businesses and higher education institutions could do for Jacksonville's economic growth and image?  I think landing one big project downtown would give a huge boost to the smaller private businesses and perhaps create dynamic growth.  As the economy improves we must be aggressive in our recruiting for the future. 

very aggressive. set no limits! See Cargo, Cruise ship & US Navy need the waterways to be right. The st johns could have a lot of economic action!!
Mike Hogan Destruction Eruption!