Spotlight On: Diane H. Crews, President & CEO, Orlando Sanford International Airport

Spotlight On: Diane H. Crews, President & CEO, Orlando Sanford International Airport

By: Yolanda Rivas

2 min read February 2020 — Since 1971, the Orlando Sanford International Airport (SFB) has been fulfilling its mission to bring convenient air travel to passengers and economic value to Central Florida. Today, SFB is one of the fastest-growing airports in North America, and it’s undergoing an expansion effort that will be completed late this year. SFB’s President and CEO, Diane H. Crews, spoke to the Invest: team about their recent accomplishments. 

What is the status of the renovation project, and what changes are being implemented?

Our terminal expansion project is on schedule for completion in the fourth quarter of 2020. Basically, we are taking the existing footprint of the airport and making it more efficient and user-friendly for passengers and staff alike. Also, we are continuing to grow, and we know that maybe 10 years down the road we will need a new terminal building, but in the meantime, we need to facilitate our ongoing growth so we are adding four new gates and related improvements. For example, we are consolidating screening into one location, creating more way-finding signage and pathways to help passengers get to their destinations with more ease, adding more bathrooms and baggage belts, and even changing the façade of the airport to include an extended canopy to keep people out of the rain. We want our visitors to always feel comfortable while they travel. Our airport code is SFB, which we have adopted as a motto to mean Simpler, Faster, Better. It is important that the changes we’re making reflect this ideology. That’s what sets us apart. 

To what do you attribute the significant passenger growth you have been experiencing?

I attribute the passenger growth to increased public awareness, getting the word out and letting people know we are here and that we offer over 75 nonstop destinations. The growth of the region has had a significant impact as well. We bring our passengers an easy and convenient experience overall, and that is very appealing. The Orlando Sanford International Airport has been used mostly for leisure travel, especially because our flights do not have the frequency that business travelers need. However, that is starting to change. We are seeing more business travel, and we are going to be working toward increasing that component of our operation. 

What has been the impact of your rebranding and new website?

The primary emphasis for the airport’s rebranding and new website was to modernize our appeal and accessibility. Based on the feedback we have received thus far, we have hit a homerun in both areas. The focus on travel convenience and a myriad of affordable and diverse travel opportunities showcased via an updated, mobile-friendly website has proven to be a winning combination. 

 

To learn more about our interviewee, visit:

Orlando Sanford International Airport: https://flysfb.com/ 

Tourists, Flight Availability Underpin MCO’s Record Growth

Tourists, Flight Availability Underpin MCO’s Record Growth

By: Sara Warden

2 min read February 2020 — Orlando’s tourism industry is going from strength to strength, generating $75.2 billion from 75 million people in 2018. The industry’s success at drawing in new customers benefits almost every other industry in the region, not least aviation. In 2019, Orlando International Airport experienced a record-breaking year, welcoming 50.6 million passengers – a 6.1% increase on the previous year.

“Orlando lnternational’s growth in 2019 is due to a combination of factors,” said Phil Brown, CEO of the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority (GOAA) in a press release. “A strong Central Florida economy, continued innovative attractions being unveiled by the local theme parks, increased air service to new markets around the world and more seats coming into the area all equal record traffic at MCO.”

Currently, 38 airlines operate flights out of Orlando International, and in 2019 seat capacity was increased by 5.9% — around another 3.25 million seats. Most of this growth was generated by Spirit and Frontier, two budget airlines that continue to expand in Orlando. Spirit Airlines announced this month that it would expand the frequency of 16 routes from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and Orlando International Airport in 2020.

“Florida is very important to Spirit Airlines, and we are going to keep growing in the state we call home,” said John Kirby, Vice President of Network Planning for Spirit, in a statement. “As the only major airline headquartered in the Sunshine State, Spirit Airlines continues to add new destinations and more nonstop service to meet the needs of Florida’s growing economy.”

And 2020 is shaping up to be an equally exciting year. According to GOAA, there will be 39 new destinations launched from airlines including Air Canada, Westjet, JetBlue, Emirates, Delta and Virgin Atlantic over the course of the year.

The first half of 2020 is full of exciting new attractions such as Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Cirque du Soleil is also stopping by to perform Drawn to Life, which is sure to make 2020 a year to compete with its predecessor.

And Universal Orlando Resort is planning a new theme park resort, plunging billions of dollars into 700 acres on Universal Boulevard for its Epic Universe. The park is set to integrate the traditional theme parks and rides, as well as hotels, restaurants and other entertainment facilities. “Our vision for Epic Universe will build on everything we have done and become the most immersive and innovative theme park we have ever created. It is an investment in our business, industry, team members and our community,” said Universal Parks & Resorts Chairman and CEO Tom Williams at the unveiling of the project last August.

Orlando International is growing to accommodate this influx of tourists, with $4 billion in construction projects in the pipeline. The new $2.1 billion South Terminal is now 45% complete, will add 19 gates and is scheduled to open by 2021.

 

To learn more, visit:

https://orlandoairports.net/

https://www.spirit.com/

https://www.universalorlando.com/web/en/us

The Peach State’s tourism industry is thriving

The Peach State’s tourism industry is thriving

By: Felipe Rivas

2 min read February 2020 — Florida has the beaches, Pennsylvania has the Pocono Mountains, and California has the movie studios. Looking for a place where you can experience all three attractions and still get a taste of southern hospitality? The Peach State is your best bet and the tourism statistics prove it. Georgia welcomed more than 111 million international and domestic visitors in 2018, a record-breaking year for the state’s tourism industry, Gov. Brian Kemp and economic development leaders announced in January during the annual Tourism, Hospitality and Arts day at the Georgia State Capitol.

Explore Georgia, the state tourism office within the Georgia Department of Economic Development, calculated that visitors spent close to $40 billion in communities throughout the state and supported 478,000 jobs. The billions in tourism-related expenditures generated $3.4 billion in state and local tax revenue.

“As visitors continue to discover Georgia’s unexpected destinations that range from the North Georgia Mountains to Cumberland Island, our economy continues to grow, new jobs are created, and our communities thrive,” said Pat Wilson, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development. Without the jobs created by the tourism industry, Georgia’s unemployment rate would be 10%, nearly twice as high as the record-low average, Explore Georgia said in a press release. 

The announcement follows Georgia’s consecutive recognition as the best state to do business by different business publications, solidifying the Peach State’s live, work and play attraction. “The tourism, hospitality, and arts industries are constantly propelling our state’s places, culture, stories, and people to the forefront – showing the world why Georgia is the best place to vacation, live, and do business,” Wilson said. 

To learn more, visit:

Exploregeorgia.com

Spotlight On: Christopher Lam, Partner, Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP

Spotlight On: Christopher Lam, Partner, Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP

By: Felipe Rivas

2 min read February 2020 — Charlotte’s growth continues to attract a gamut of industries and talent into the region. As a result, the legal needs of businesses are evolving along with the diversification of the local economy, expanding the opportunities for legal professionals in the Queen City. Charlotte’s cost of living and sophisticated legal services rival the likes of New York, Chicago and Washington, D.C, Bradley Arant Boult Cummings Partner Christopher Lam told Invest: Charlotte. The business diversity is driving the need for expertise in compliance and data privacy. Additionally, there is a great emphasis to provide access to justice to all residents via pro bono legal services or by committing financial resources to community agencies in the region, Lam said. 

Q: How has the legal landscape changed with so much economic growth in the region?

A: From a legal perspective, a lot of firms from outside North Carolina decided to set up an office here, and not all of those have remained. According to American Lawyer, however, there are 59 law firms with a Charlotte office that are not headquartered here. This remains a very popular place to be for lawyers and that’s because of the way our business community has diversified.

We are known as a banking and financial services hub, and while this is still a key part of our economy, we are so much more than that, with energy, manufacturing, fintech and other sectors emerging. That diversification is good for us as lawyers too, as it better equips us to weather a potential downturn. For example, our firm has experts in multiple practice areas and industries, which allows us to serve clients with those needs and protects us against a downturn in one or two particular sectors.

Q: How have the legal needs of companies evolved as new technologies and developments emerge?

A: The core legal needs for businesses have largely remained the same – corporate, employment, litigation, real estate. But with new regulations, there is a greater need for expertise in compliance, specifically in data privacy, and particularly with new regulations such as GDPR and CCPA going into effect. That impacts almost every company. At Bradley, we have two of only a handful of lawyers in the country who are board-certified privacy lawyers, and we have an additional deep bench of lawyers who are CIPP-US certified. We have been well-positioned to help companies navigate these new regulations. 

Q: How do you think the private sector and public officials must work together to keep growth sustainable?

A: Charlotte has a proud legacy of business leadership in issues of community development and public policy. Our business leaders have long been champions of these initiatives and we certainly think we at Bradley are a part of that effort. It is important as corporate citizens that we recognize that the better we make our community as a whole, the better it is for everyone.

Q: How does the Charlotte legal market compare with other markets such as Chicago or New York?

A: Those cities are larger and more diverse and sometimes those legal markets can seem more attractive, whether it be a higher salary or more opportunities. In Charlotte, however, because of the diversity of the business community, we have sophisticated legal services here to rival the likes of New York, Chicago and Washington, D.C. We also have a cost of living that is more advantageous, meaning lawyers can have great opportunities with a lower cost of living. That’s the best of both worlds.

Q: What are the main challenges facing the Charlotte market today?

A: Most of the 5,500 lawyers in Mecklenburg County are not working in big firms or representing large companies. And there are thousands of residents in the broader Charlotte community who have legal needs but cannot afford legal services. As current president of the Mecklenburg County Bar, my time spent working with groups like the Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy has emphasized that the greatest challenge for lawyers here is our responsibility to ensure there is access to justice for all. We have a professional obligation to do so. We can do this in a couple primary ways – providing pro bono legal services ourselves or committing our financial resources to the agencies doing the heavy lifting every day. That issue is not unique to Charlotte, but as lawyers we have a particular responsibility to help ensure there is access to justice. I am very proud to say our lawyers at Bradley live into that. As but one example, we have a partnership with the Bank of America legal department through which we work with Safe Alliance to represent clients who need domestic violence protective orders. 

To learn more about our interviewee, visit: https://www.bradley.com/

Face Off: The growth of Gaston County

Face Off: The growth of Gaston County

By: Felipe Rivas

2 min read January 2020 — In the last few years, Gaston County, located an hour away from the Queen City, has greatly benefited from the activity happening in Mecklenburg County. As a result, Gaston County, home to cities like Gastonia and Mount Holly, is experiencing growth in its residential, commercial and industrial sectors. Its proximity to the Charlotte Douglas International Airport and available land make it a suitable place for businesses and new residents to settle in and still tap into the energy of nearby Charlotte. In an interview with Invest: Charlotte, city of Gastonia Mayor Walker E. Reid and Mount Holly Mayor Bryan Hough talk about how their perspective cities are adapting to the growth, changes in infrastructure, and their vision for their cities moving forward. 

 

What areas are witnessing growth in your cities?

 

Walker E. Reid: Residential is growing in the southeast part of the city. It is an area we invested in a while back in hopes of developing it. As we speak, 411 single-family homes are being built within Nolen Farm. Also, we are going to bolster the zone’s water infrastructure and improve the sewage system. Eastridge Mall is in the process of being revitalized as well. For this project, some investors are willing to inject between $100 million and $150 million. It will include apartments and an aquatic center. We are working on the details of traffic patterns in and out of the mall. We are also working with the Transportation Commission to get the Silverline light rail into Gaston County.

 

Bryan Hough: We are one of the closest cities to the Charlotte Douglas International Airport. Our proximity to the airport provides an opportunity for travelers and professionals to see Mount Holly and take an interest in the city. They’ll see that we have a small town atmosphere but can take advantage of a large place like Charlotte and the amenities they provide. The exposure the airport provides is good for job growth and opportunities for commercial growth. For 2020, we expect to see more investment coming to Mount Holly. We are going to see additional growth in both residential and commercial. We also plan to expand the greenway system. Our arts community has been blossoming and we expect it to continue to grow. 

Walker E. Reid

How is the local infrastructure dealing with the region’s growth?

 

Reid: The county was traditionally and primarily focused on the textile industry. When those businesses and jobs were lost, we had to adapt to find our next business niche, which turned out to be infrastructure. Now, we sell water to municipalities in Gaston County as well as in Clover, South Carolina. We also provide water, sewage and electricity services. The Gastonia Technology Park is a great testament to our diversification efforts. Businesses from all over the world have come to Gaston County to capitalize on this park. It has 24-hour uninterrupted power. We have a qualified workforce, training facilities and the infrastructure to assist new businesses looking to set up shop in Gastonia.

 

Hough: “Mount Holly, located in Gaston County, is home to 16,000 residents. In the past year, we have seen a lot of investor interest and development in Mount Holly. Investors in the manufacturing and distribution sectors are interested in development opportunities. We have a new hotel being built on the edge of our city, off of Interstate 85, which is connected to Charlotte, and is 10 minutes away from the Charlotte Douglas International Airport. Our economic development department created a strategic vision plan based on significant economic input that highlights the attributes of Mount Holly, and provides investment information for businesses that want to bring their operations to the area. We work with the Gaston County Economic Development Commission to attract and retain large commercial companies. We want to make investment information accessible to investors.  

Bryan Hough

As mayor, where do you see your city heading in the future?

 

Reid: We have set some very aggressive goals related to our infrastructure, healthy communities, good government, economic vitality, our community identity, and for the safety of our community. In the coming years, we will continue to build on our momentum of growth and entrepreneurship. We also must continue to bring everyone to the table because we are a diverse city. One other goal that I would like to see the city work toward is for more diversity and inclusion. I want to put more emphasis on getting our residents from different cultures and different age groups involved in our city’s future – to build a sense of belonging and bring everyone together. Let’s hear more and different voices. I want the city of Gastonia to become the best city we can possibly be. Considering we are between Charlotte and Atlanta, we have a lot to offer.

 

Hough: Quality of life has been a key focus for the city. We want to be connected to the Catawba River via a greenway system that we are developing. We will have around 9 miles of greenway development near the river and 200 acres have been preserved for eco-tourism, such as canoeing and kayaking. We will have a bridge near the Dutchman’s Creek greenway area that will help with development near the river. The greenway system will stretch from I-85 to Highway 16 once it is completed. Mount Holly is home to very active residents who like to swim, bike and kayak. We want to connect with nature, which is part of our logo. That is our niche in the Charlotte Metro Area.

To learn more about our interviewees, visit:

https://www.cityofgastonia.com/

https://www.mtholly.us/

Local leaders optimistic amid Charlotte’s latest jobs ranking

Local leaders optimistic amid Charlotte’s latest jobs ranking

By: Felipe Rivas

2 min read January 2020   — The Queen City closed out the decade as one of the hottest markets in the nation, especially in the southeast. Millennials, Fortune 500 companies, and even a new soccer team want to be fully established in Charlotte and tap into its growth. And while the region offers a robust, tech- and financial services-savvy workforce, and is steadily diversifying its economy, a new report puts Charlotte in the middle of the pack for best cities for jobs in 2020. However, local market leaders across industries say job opportunities will remain sustainable for 2020, especially in the technology, law, and real estate sectors.

 

A new report by WalletHub puts Charlotte at No. 104 on its ranking of “2020’s Best Cities for Jobs.” The personal finance website compared more than 180 U.S. cities across 31 indicators of job-market strength, such as employment growth and monthly average starting salary. Scottsdale, Arizona, took the top spot, and Detroit, Michigan, came in last at No. 182. Other major North Carolina metros received mixed reviews, with Raleigh cracking the Top 50 at No. 48, and Fayetteville listed before Detroit at No. 181. Though the report listed Charlotte as middle of the pack for jobs compared to other cities, the technology, law and real estate sectors will continue to provide opportunities for the region’s workforce, local leaders say.  

 

Charlotte is quickly becoming a tech town, as evidenced by the different tech-based companies that relocated to the region in the latter half of the last decade. “In the Charlotte market, the technology talent pool is growing at a rapid pace, largely driven by companies like Red Ventures, LendingTree, and AvidXchange,” JLL Market Director Chase Monroe told Invest: Charlotte. “There has been a need for high-tech talent. Locally, there has been investment in the school system to drive technological education.” Charlotte’s banking legacy, coupled with the fintech that is coming out of the banking system, is also fueling the technology sector and driving talent to the Queen City, Monroe said. “Those factors have allowed Charlotte to be a top recruiter for multiple tech-based opportunities across industries. Recruiting and retention of talent has been a huge factor in the Charlotte Metro Area.” 

 

Similarly, the legal sector has evolved with the growth of the city and has a positive outlook heading into the new decade. “I don’t see anything but good things for the legal profession here,” Poyner Spruill Partner Tate Ogburn told Invest: Charlotte. “Charlotte has grown for the two decades that I have lived here, and I don’t see that dramatically changing.” The legal needs of companies evolve with the economic diversification and growth of the region, which creates opportunities for legal professionals, he said. “It is still a place where people want to be and there are more opportunities with new and more sophisticated companies coming in for the legal sector to continue growing. There are a lot of opportunities in terms of new clients and people, and different types of work as well,” Ogburn said. 

 

Real estate and development provide investor confidence and opportunities for the workforce as Charlotte continues to grow. “I’ve been at this for 40 years and the real estate market in Charlotte is the strongest, most robust I’ve ever seen,” Northwood CEO Ned Curran told Invest: Charlotte. He highlighted the growth of the residential, industrial and commercial sectors. “Residential leads the way. It has not slowed like in other cities. Distribution and manufacturing continue to grow, and we have a unique distribution hub of state highways and rail networks associated with the airport. The office sector has trailed a little, but in recent years it has been catching up, which is a reflection of job growth,” he said. Curran expects the growth to continue during an election year and beyond while expressing confidence in the region and its economic diversification, which will allow the region to be better prepared in the event of an economic downturn, he said. “We will continue to grow across all sectors. We continue to diversify our economy, which only gives us greater strength. When there is a downturn in the economy, not everybody suffers. Some have disadvantages, some have advantages, but we are all components of an economic system and with our great diversity, we will be able to weather it better.”

 

To learn more about our interviewees, visit: 

https://wallethub.com/edu/best-cities-for-jobs/2173/#methodology

https://www.us.jll.com/en/locations/southeast/carolinas

https://www.poynerspruill.com/

https://www.northwoodoffice.com/

 

Georgia Wraps Up Decade as Top State for business

Georgia Wraps Up Decade as Top State for business

By: Felipe Rivas

2 min read January 2020Development and growth in Atlanta remain strong as the decade comes to an end, and the economic activity and favorable business climate characteristic of Atlanta looks just as peachy for the entire state of Georgia. In November, Georgia was recognized by Site Selection Magazine as the top state for business for a record-breaking seventh year in a row. Similarly, Area Development Magazine also named Georgia as the top state for business for the sixth-consecutive year. 

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp said continuing to foster a thriving business climate has been a major part of his vision for the state since assuming office in January 2019. “From Day One of my administration, we have been laser-focused on creating opportunities for hardworking Georgians in every corner of the state,” Kemp  announced at the Georgia Cyber Center in Augusta, Georgia in November . “Our efforts to cut burdensome regulations, continue developing a world-class workforce, and market all regions of the Peach State through the formation of a Rural Strike Team have not gone unnoticed, and this announcement affirms that.” 

 

The state’s workforce training program, Georgia Quick Start, was also recognized as one of the best in the nation. The state reported around 29,000 new jobs were created for fiscal year 2019. According to the Atlanta Regional Commission, 2.5 million residents are expected to move to the region by the year 2040, bringing the total population to 8 million. 

 

Heading into the new decade, technology will be a key area of growth for the region and state. The Metro Atlanta Chamber identified bioscience, financial technology, supply chain and Internet of Things as economic segments poised for growth. Additionally, Georgia’s logistics hub legacy is one of the state’s main competitive advantages. Logistics hubs like the Port of Savannah and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport connect businesses to their customers with ease. The workforce training programs, and logistic hubs, coupled with the state’s pro-business policies make Georgia a frontrunner for companies looking to relocate. 

“The nation’s leading site consultants see opportunity for growth across our state. Our top-ranked workforce development initiatives – combined with a conservative, pro-business policy approach, world-class higher education system, and a logistics network that puts the global economy within arm’s reach – make Georgia a top competitor for investment from businesses large and small – across the country and around the world,” Kemp said. 

 

To learn more, visit:

https://www.metroatlantachamber.com 

https://www.georgia.org https://atlantaregional.org/

Public-Private Partners Devise Future of Queen City

Public-Private Partners Devise Future of Queen City

By: Felipe Rivas

2 min read January 2020In the last decade, Charlotte rose from the devastating effects of the Great Recession to become the 16th-most populous city in the United States. The Queen City has experienced continuous years of growth thanks to the diversification of its economy, its budding headquarters relocation culture, steady commercial and residential development, and its “cool” appeal favored by the young workforce moving to Charlotte and its surrounding region. As the city prepares for another decade of evolution, growth, and development, public and private partners have their eyes set on the year 2040. Several complementary plans are underway that will help guide the future of Center City, the city of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County for the next 20 years.

Spearheaded by nonprofit Charlotte Center City Partners, in partnership with the city and county, the “ALL IN 2040” plan aims to establish a new blueprint for the growth and development of Center City, an area that encompasses Uptown and South End. Simultaneously, the city of Charlotte is working on its 2040 Comprehensive Plan, which will guide the growth of Charlotte overall, while Mecklenburg County rewrites its Park and Recreation master plan.

Michael Smith, president and CEO of Charlotte Center City Partners, said the Queen City has a strong legacy of careful planning for long-term development. “We’ve had four decades of deliberate planning and this decade has really defined Charlotte,” Smith told Invest: Charlotte. “Charlotte has launched a new, renewed Center City vision for 2040, called the ‘ALL IN’ plan. This is a great opportunity for Charlotte to carry on its legacy of planning. This is a 50-year tradition of creating these blueprints, each time looking several decades ahead, but renewing that vision every 10 years. This provides us with an opportunity to listen to our community, and to bring subject-matter experts in to help us understand some of the best practices around the world,” he said.

 

Much of the successful growth and development in Charlotte that occurred in the past decade was a result of strong public-private partnerships, which the “ALL IN 2040” plan will continue to develop and strengthen. “The plans and projects are co-created and co-owned with the private sector. In Charlotte over the last 50 years, we’ve had the public sector making transformative, shaping, stimulating investments in infrastructure, and the private sector responding in a collaborative way,” Smith said.

 

Infrastructure will be a strong focus of the “ALL IN 2040” plan, as well as the city’s 2040 Comprehensive Plan. “With the growth we have, we know we have to invest in transportation,” Smith said. Both plans account for major transit expansions to the city’s rapid bus transit and light rail systems. “All that infrastructure development is really needed as the city is booming with construction on the residential, office and hospitality fronts. Right now, there are almost 2.2 million square feet of office space under construction. Of that, there are about 700,000 square feet in South End, and more in Uptown. This is not speculative; there is a lot of pre-leased space in South End. As a matter of fact, about 90% of what’s under construction is pre-leased. It provides us with great confidence,” he said.

 

The “ALL IN 2040” plan and similar city and county efforts are meant to complement one another. Throughout 2020, residents are encouraged to attend public engagement sessions where they can give their input regarding the future of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County. 

By the end of the process, a final draft will be created that will eventually head to the city council for approval and implementation.

 

To learn more, visit:

https://www.charlottecentercity.org 

https://www.allin2040.com/plan

Philadelphia, South Jersey Prioritize Transit, Affordability, Sustainability in 2020

Philadelphia, South Jersey Prioritize Transit, Affordability, Sustainability in 2020

By: Sara Warden

2 min read December 2019 — Although under slightly different time frames, both South Jersey and Philadelphia’s local and state governments are prioritizing investment in three key axes for the coming years: transit, affordability and sustainability.

 

In 2011, Philadelphia’s City Planning Commission outlined Philadelphia2035, a comprehensive plan for managing growth and development in the city. Updated every year, the first phase includes a Citywide Vision, that encompasses broad planning goals, while the second phase will build upon these with specific policies related to 18 different planning districts. The program invites public and private investment for the development of the city over the medium term. The blueprint is based on three key themes: Thrive, Connect and Renew.

According to the 2035 planning document, the Thrive element will focus on promoting affordability in housing, strong neighborhood centers, economic development and land management. Connect will center around improving transportation and utilities, including transit, streets and highways, ports, airports and rail. Finally, with an eye on sustainability, Renew is all about creating more open spaces, effective use of water resources, air quality and historic preservation.

“Philadelphia 2035 envisions a city with an expanded transportation network that better connects home and workplace; ensures convenient access to sources of healthy food; supports the productive reuse of vacant land; and provides modern municipal facilities that serve as the anchors of strong neighborhoods,” said former City Mayor Michael Nutter when launching the plan in 2011.

The new year was already off to a good start for the City of Brotherly Love even before the calendar turned. National Geographic Traveler in November named Philadelphia one of the top 25 must-visit destinations in the world in 2020.

And across the Delaware, South Jersey faces many of same issues are at the top of Gov. Phil Murphy’s priority list. The four pillars of the 2020 budget signed in June 2019 include creation of over $1.1 billion in sustainable savings, stabilizing New Jersey’s credit-worthiness and ensuring tax fairness for the middle class. This foundation will support the final priority of investments in education, infrastructure – in particular NJ TRANSIT – and an innovation-driven economy.

“The budget enacted today is a victory for working families in New Jersey in many different ways—it supports middle-class priorities, invests in education, makes a record investment in NJ TRANSIT, provides property tax relief, and so much more,” said Murphy when he signed the budget into force.

But Murphy also has his eye on further priorities to strengthen the 2020 plan amid more effective tax revenues. “This is a budget that does not include tax fairness, does not ask opioid manufacturers to help fund addiction services, and does not raise gun fees that have been untouched since 1966,” he said. “These common-sense revenues would have allowed us to save for a rainy day and sustainably fund necessary investments for New Jersey’s nine million residents.”

To learn more, visit:

https://www.phila.gov/departments/philadelphia-city-planning-commission/ 

https://www.jerseycitynj.gov/cityhall/mayorfulop