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McGinnis: Work from Mayor's Summit continues

Although it has dropped out of the news, work started at the Mayor's Economic Summit is continuing. It has been about a year since the process of organizing the summit got underway. On Wednesday, Jim McGinnis, who chaired the steering committee t...

Although it has dropped out of the news, work started at the Mayor's Economic Summit is continuing.
It has been about a year since the process of organizing the summit got underway. On Wednesday, Jim McGinnis, who chaired the steering committee that planned the summit, recalled that process, along with the key themes that came out of the November event.
He provided an update on where the process currently is and shared his insight on how it relates to development in Duluth and the region. The president and CEO of Murphy McGinnis Media (which owns the Budgeteer News) spoke at the University of Minnesota-Duluth's Brown Bag Series, sponsored by the UMD Urban Studies program.
The summit produced a set of recommendations for possible initiatives in each of seven key sectors of the regional economy. Follow-up sessions to further refine the concepts have been held in aviation, health care, technology and tourism.
He said the sessions for education, natural resources and transportation will likely be held in late April or May. The summary draft report, currently available on the city of Duluth Web site ( http://www.ci.duluth.mn.us/city/
summit/), will be updated as the sessions are completed.
"A lot of communities are just getting started on the process Duluth started a year ago," said McGinnis. He credited the leadership of Mayor Gary Doty for making the summit a success and keeping the momentum going.
As to concerns that the process is moving too slowly, he said, "economic development around the region has not stopped. We are trying to create an economic strategy to serve the community for years to come."
He said one point that came out of the summit was the need to understand the difference between economic development and community development. The former relates to asset creation, while the latter involves asset distribution. Recruiting a new business would be economic development, while improving parks would be community development.
"The economic summit and all that follows in the process are about economic development, not community development," McGinnis said.
He said economic development must be driven in large measure by the private sector as well as the public sector. He added that successful private/public partnerships would help, but the private sector must provide leadership for it to succeed.
"There is a high level of anticipation and excitement that came out of the summit," McGinnis said. "The window is open; I hope the private sector will take advantage of it."

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