The Business Development Strategic Plan 2022- 2024 Summary
The City of Highland Park is committed to supporting the local business community, laying solid foundations for sustaining a balanced and healthy business climate while providing for considerate growth and responsiveness to those who live, work, visit, and do business within the community. The Business Development Strategic Plan (“Plan”) sets forth an ambitious yet achievable strategic business development agenda for the City of Highland Park for 2022 - 2024. The Plan is a living document reviewed and updated based on input from City staff, City Council, the Business & Economic Development Advisory Group ("BEDAG"), businesses, property owners, and other community partners. As a dynamic document, it allows local stakeholders and leaders to implement the plan over the coming years, adapting to changing conditions to ensure ongoing community vibrancy.
The purpose of the Plan aims to a set of measurable strategies and actions to support the local economy. It acts as a guide for purposeful action and planning during this snapshot in time based on best practices to attract and retain businesses, encourage investment and reinvestment in Highland Park's unique assets, and highlight the competitiveness of the city's commercial real estate opportunities.
As part of the Strategic Plan update process, the City undertook an in-depth and comprehensive review and update of its 2019 Strategic Plan in Q3 2021, which included a holistic review of the City’s business development policies, activities, and programs, research of best practices in business development, assessment of business development plans of comparable municipalities throughout the nation, and an analysis of existing conditions within the City. In Q4 2021, the City conducted robust community engagement. Business development stakeholders, including residents, businesses, property owners, and commercial and residential brokers provided feedback through targeted City focus groups and extensive community outreach. The City Council and BEDAG provided additional feedback in Q1 and Q2 2022. The revised plan outlines specific focus areas, objectives, and strategies for business development in Highland Park. Each focus area includes a clear purpose of action and detailed goals and tasks.
Focus Areas Include:
- Business Retention & Attraction
- Marketing & Public Education
- Local & Regional Partnerships Policy Considerations
- Administrative & Regulatory Processes
- Development, Redevelopment & Repositioning Strategies
- Infrastructure Improvements
These focus areas allow for new organizational approaches, enhanced community branding, and strengthening existing practices. City staff leads the implementation of the Plan. However, policy set by the City Council, volunteer efforts by the BEDAG in support of business retention, and marketing collaboration with community and regional partners are crucial for amplifying the message that Highland Park is a premiere location for doing business and is critical to the success of the Plan.
City staff will provide regular reports to the City Council and Business & Economic Development Advisory Group throughout the life of the Plan. One of the primary goals of the Office of Business Development is to maintain and enhance the economic viability of Highland Park. Key performance indicators, or KPIs, will help the City make strategic planning decisions, accomplish its vision for the future, and measure the progress of the business development strategy. In addition to the metrics included in the Plan, annually, staff will report on the City's commercial vacancy rate as reported by Co-Star, the number of closed vs. new businesses based on the City's licensing database.
Special thanks to the City Council for their vision and direction and the Highland Park Business & Economic Development Advisory Group for their hard work and commitment to promoting the City and improving the quality of life in Highland Park.