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Regional News

Greater Spokane releases new economic development strategy

Thrive Spokane graphic
Courtesy of Greater Spokane
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Organizers hope it will unify Spokane's economic message.

Spokane’s economic development agency has unveiled a new regional strategy for the next five years.

Joey Gunning, the strategic growth manager for Greater Spokane, Incorporated, says the new Thrive Spokane plan is meant to be a unifying document for Spokane and surrounding counties.

“I think it’s so important to align economic development efforts. There’s so many players in the economy that really, at the end of the day, a lot of our goals are aligned and we’re heading the same direction," he said.

Gunning says the new strategy has evolved after a year of consultation with businesses and community groups.

“The opportunity still remains to break down those silos between organizations and really build those partnerships and see how we can help one another," he said.

The new strategy includes traditional business elements to help the region compete for workers and other resources. It emphasizes resiliency, to help companies ride the waves created by economic shocks. And it acknowledges inequalities within the local economy and identifies strategies to address those.

The plan was rolled out during an event sponsored by Greater Spokane on Wednesday afternoon. Gunning says the work of developing specific strategies and timelines begins today [Thursday].

"We’re really going to take it in small chunks. What can we do in the next 30 days to help drive this forward? At those meetings, we’re going to establish what the criteria for success might look like. How we can measure that," he said.

The Thrive Spokane plan was developed, in part, with money and guidance from the federal Economic Development Administration. Gunning says that will make the Spokane region eligible for grants for future economic development projects.