The City of Dover decided to take a wrecking ball to its economic development department in spite of 5 years of work that has brought hundreds of millions in new private investment, filled empty box stores, changed the Garrison Track into the Garrison Technology Park. We finally began to address workforce development, gained needed investment to implement a downtown strategy through Restoring Central Dover and the Downtown Development District and began business training reaching all segments of the community through the Ice House project.
We now have a committee charting strategy. While it was a mistake that got us here, it is an opportunity to get us to a consensus that could prove very beneficial to our city. The Mayor is the chair of the Economic Development Committee (thanks to my motion) and has already made some positive moves including the addition of our best expert with a proven record of success to the committee, Assistant City Manager Kirby Hudson. While I have some hope for the future, the future will only be bright if we look for a strategy that is effective for everyone. This is why I have been standing for a strategy of economic inclusion, which ensures that every voice is heard regardless of background, sex or ethnicity.
I believe inclusion is vital to economic growth. A community has to make use of every resource available. This includes the people of good will who want a better life. We need to be favorable to business startups. We need Workforce Development programs. We need a range of housing including affordable housing. We need to encourage large businesses to be able to function well and look at Dover as an opportunity. We need small businesses prospering and being an agent of economic vitality. We need all people regardless of whether the family’s well-connected or not having equal access to government and having their ideas placed in the mix. We need to reclaim offenders so they don’t become reoffenders. We need to unite our city into one team with a mission of prosperity for all who are willing to work or retired after doing their share.
We need to ensure that we hear from 100% of our city. We need an economy which builds upon the strengths of each person. We need to marshal our talents, people, resources and partnerships to build a prosperous community that is business friendly and people oriented. This is what I call economic inclusion.