By Max Crampton-Thomas
2 min read September 2019 — When Ronnie Felder won the runoff race for mayor in March, he had campaigned on the idea of revitalizing the city of Riviera Beach. Invest: Palm Beach sat down the mayor to discuss how he is encouraging economic revitalization and development in the city by rebuilding relationships with the local business community, specific industries he is targeting as part of his economic development plan and what the next few years will look like for Riviera Beach.
How are you working to strengthen the city’s relationship with local businesses?
One of our goals is to meet with every business in this city to become more familiar with the organizations that are out there and their needs. We are learning through these relationships that a lot of these companies want to hire individuals from Riviera Beach but there is a lack of experienced workforce. We want Riviera residents to know that these job opportunities exist, and as the mayor, I feel it is my responsibility to make sure that happens. In past years, Riviera Beach did not have this established dialogue with the business community. For us to progress as a city and to have the trust of the business community, we must continue to build and strengthen this dialogue.
What are some industries you are targeting to help grow the city’s economy?
We need more hotels and restaurants, which is a significant way for us to begin to push this city into the future. We do not have enough hotels to accommodate a large influx of tourism, which is impeding our growth. We have to be aggressive in our development efforts. I want to see cranes throughout Riviera Beach because when you see cranes in the city, that means economic growth, it means we are tapping into our potential and other businesses will see this and also want to be part of our city.
What are your short-term goals for the city’s economic development?
We want to see exponential growth in the next two years. We will be working with businesses to encourage them to hire our young people when they graduate so we can retain some of that local talent. We have to begin to address the long-neglected infrastructure improvements and redevelopment of our public facilities like city hall, the police station and our schools. Everyone from the private and the public sectors should start seeing the benefits from our efforts to grow the local economy.
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