DevelopSpringfield

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After several high profile economic development announcements, community leaders in the City of Springfield, Massachusetts saw the need for a comprehensive and forward looking economic development strategy to build on the city’s momentum and plant the seeds for sustained future growth. Partnering with NKF GCS, the city took a practical approach, developing an economic development strategy that meet the city’s desire to drive both short-term success and long-term structural challenges.

Springfield has a rich manufacturing heritage. It earned the moniker the “City of Firsts” for its notable contributions to America’s industrial landscape. It was here that the gasoline powered automobile, motorcycle, and even ice skates were first invented and mass produced in the United States. Like many Northeastern cities reliant on manufacturing, Springfield’s economic fortunes diminished in the late twentieth century. Previous economic development studies sat on the shelf and did little to create widespread and meaningful change. Under this backdrop, the city’s business community and public sector came together to initiate the FutureCity 2026 economic development strategy.

NKF’s practical action-oriented approach to developing an economic development strategy matched the city’s desire to drive short-term success while taking steps to remedy long-term structural challenges.

  • 100+ community stakeholder interviews to supplemented knowledge gained from previous studies
  • 20 days on the ground integrating with the community to gain a clear understanding of its economic positioning
  • Existing conditions assessment – peer city comparison, community asset profiles, economic drivers, and real estate inventory overview
  • Target industry analysis and company prospect list – identify companies and industries to attract, retain, and grow
  • Profile of city and region’s transportation infrastructure and logistics and supply chain networks
  • Talent development strategy evaluating workforce and identifying critical skills gaps
  • Led an “Innovation Workshop” with members of the city’s startup eco-system to brainstorm ways to further grow this key cluster
The NKF team relied on their corporate site selection experience and used a “reverse site selection” approach to help Springfield understand its strengths and shortcomings from the perspective of corporate occupiers. This assessment resulted in 151 recommendations that were part of the larger strategy. To help ensure adoption of the strategy, each recommendation was assigned a priority and responsibility and accountability were assigned to specific stakeholders. Priority was determined by estimating the time to implement, potential economic impact, cost, and overall difficulty level. Metrics and a “report card” were issued with the report to track the city’s future progress.

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