WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. – Westchester County is not on the radar of many site selectors of businesses looking to move and needs to improvement in several areas, consultant Mark M. Sweeney said at conference last week.
Sweeney, a principal of McCallum Sweeney Consulting, made his remarks at “Rethinking Westchester: A Blueprint for Smart Growth.” The conference was organized by the BLUEPRINT for Westchester and held at the Westchester Marriot in Tarrytown. The meeting brought together leading experts on infrastructure, public-private partnerships, economic development and place-making to share observations and advice before an audience of 200.
The goal of the conference was to prod Westchester into becoming more competitive on a regional, national and global scale. "It's time to get back in the game," Sweeney said.
The recommendations included:
- Improve Westchester's hi-tech infrastructure. “You need to upgrade your wireless and electrical capacity, and there has to be redundancy in your electrical and telecommunications infrastructure,’’ Sweeney said.
- Build affordable housing for young professionals
- Embrace diversity
- Upgrade marketing and outreach. “The county needs better communication and marketing. They need an effective website and a real social media strategy, and they need to reach out directly to site selection firms,'' Sweeney said.
Sweeney is optimistic about overall economic growth in the United States in the next few years, and applauded Westchester County Association's BLUEPRINT, which, he said, can put Westchester back on the right track.
“Westchester has opportunities in the biotech and the defense industries, and others looking for a high quality place to work and live. Corporate headquarters should be the sweet spot,'' Sweeney said.
But, he also believes Westchester has to become more competitive. “Concentrate on putting a good economic development team in place,'' he said. "People need to have skin in the game.”
See more Sweeney's thoughts on YouTube.
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