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Get along to move along

Even the most well-considered economic development project can get derailed if federal, state and local governments aren't working in tandem toward the same goals. A disconnect may be the result of conflicting priorities, political differences, or just a misunderstanding of various agencies' processes and procedures.

"It is possible to negotiate the complexities of working across jurisdictions to move a project from a place of conflict to a place of collaboration," says Greer Mayor Rick Danner. "But the keys to making that happen often boil down to communication and shared vision."

Danner points to two projects in the City of Greer that required substantial coordination among a variety of jurisdictions.

First, the construction of the inland port property in Greer in 2013 brought together local, state and federal interests together for a mammoth, yet quick-turnaround, project that would ultimately benefit not only the region, but also the state as a whole.

Second, Greer's recent downtown redevelopment project meant multiple jurisdictions had to coordinate timing and resources to ensure downtown businesses and their customers didn't lose out because of construction work.

In both cases, Danner points to a number of lessons learned by Greer officials in working across jurisdictional lines:

  • Formalize cooperation agreements to ensure everyone is working toward the same end.
  • Ensure the goals of any agreements are politically attractive for all involved.
  • Share facts such as inventories, surveys and field data by using technology.
  • Use neutral parties if necessary to get past baggage of the past.
  • Break down large goals into manageable projects.
  • Create demonstration projects.
  • Create multiple opportunities for public involvement.

Learn about Greer's experiences in successfully working with a wide variety of government jurisdictions during an Annual Meeting session at 11:15 a.m. on Saturday, July 22.