DeKalb County Strategic Economic Development Plan Kicks off in Decatur
For Immediate Release
August 24, 2018
The Decide DeKalb Development Authority and the DeKalb County officially began the 2023 Strategic Economic Development Plan engagement process at a successful public open house at the Maloof Auditorium in Decatur on Tuesday night, August 21. The meeting was led by the Plan’s hired consultants, RKG Associates, Inc., an economic development planning firm. Forty-five County residents attended the event.
A brief presentation highlighted the different ways that communities can define economic development and emphasized that economic goals in different parts of DeKalb County will be as diverse as the population that lives within them. Kyle Talente, Principal of RKG Associates, then led a group discussion in which citizens offered their own economic development goals for the community and identified what they saw as DeKalb’s greatest assets and improvement areas. Attendees spoke about a need for robust job training programs, diverse housing options, transit connectivity, and a desire for economic development to benefit households of all different income ranges, among other goals.
DeKalb County’s strategic location in the Metro Region, transit and highway access, PDK Airport, engaged corporate community, and higher education institutions were discussed as key assets. Speakers highlighted issues related to economic equity, traffic, capacity of water and sewer infrastructure, and public perception, among others, as areas that need to be addressed to improve the county’s economic competitiveness.
The speakers included County CEO Michael Thurmond, Decide DeKalb Board Chair Don Bolia, and President Ray Gilley, and Deputy Chief Operating Officer for Development Luz Borrero. Among the elected officials in attendance were Commissioner Kathie Gannon, Commissioner Steve Bradshaw, and Lithonia Mayor Deborah Jackson.
The Kickoff Meeting was the first of several engagement opportunities that will take place throughout the Plan process, which runs until the report is issued in January 2019. Residents are invited to visit www.dekalbcountysedp.com for updates on the Plan, details on future events, and links to a public survey.