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Robert Trigaux

Tampa Bay Partnership's regional coalition-building skills attract eye of others in Florida



Stuartrogelceotampabaypartnership Wake up and good morning. Maybe we're too close to it all in Tampa Bay, but the momentum in regional planning -- especially by the Tampa Bay Partnership -- is gaining some fans elsewhere in Florida.

The Palm Beach Post last week ran a story about how the Economic Council of Palm Beach County brought Tampa Bay Partnership chief Stu Rogel to town to hear his strategy on how to make things happen on a regional basis. This is no slam dunk feat. Tampa Bay, split as it is among Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater and dozens of other smaller towns and municipal fiefdoms, still has its work cut out for it in trying to make group, regional-based plans for the future. But the Partnership, with other groups, has scored some major victories and other Florida economic groups want to know how to make such things happen on their turf.

Tampabaypartnshipaddscitruscountynow8Rogel told the West Palm beach audience that Tampa Bay's partnership unites eight (it used to be seven until the Partnership recently added Citrus County to the mix of Hillsborough, Pinellas, Manatee, SarasotaPolk, Pasco and Hernando) west Florida counties. With a combined population of 4 million and a workforce of 1.9 million, it is the country's 14th largest media market. The region is home to 25 percent of the state's legislature, Rogel said. (Photo: Tampa Bay Partnership board -- current partnership chairman Gary Sasso, forefront, right -- witnesses signing of addition of Citrus County to group. Courtesy of Tampa Bay Partnership.)

Next month, the regional Tampa Bay group meets for the second year in a row with its counterpart in the Orlando regional area -- the Central Florida Partnership -- to talk about their potential future together, especially now that a high speed rail project between the two metro areas is under way, as a "super-regional" powerhouse. 

The Palm Beach Postdescribed the partnership as "kind of an economic development arm on steroids." The Palm Beach County economic development team specifically drew inspiration from the partnership's recent "visioning" efforts to create long-term goals for the greater Tampa Bay region and to establish a method to gain strong regional buy-in and participation in those goals.

"We can do this. It's one step at a time," Palm Beach County Economic Council Chair Laurie Silvers told the 80 business and nonprofit leaders assembled, the newspaper reported. "If nothing else, this shows it can be done." Here's the complete Palm Beach Post story.

-- Robert Trigaux, Times Business Columnist

[Last modified: Tuesday, June 1, 2010 11:27am]


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