Firm: Delco should focus on riverfront

Posted: March 15, 2013

The corridor between the Delaware River and the Amtrak rail lines should be the focus of Delaware County's development efforts in the next 10 years, officials of a county-retained planning firm told County Council members Wednesday.

Council Chairman Thomas McGarrigle agreed, noting the recent loss of oil-refinery jobs in that corridor.

Theresa K. Sparacino, vice president of the Delta Development Group of Mechanicsburg, Pa., speaking to council members and an audience of civic leaders, went further, offering a menu of the county's promising demographics.

They ranged from a growing population and a median household income in 2011 of $60,442, compared with $50,163 nationwide; affordable housing; quality schools; and an educated workforce, according to Sparacino.

But her report also noted "an overall loss of employment between 2007 and 2012" of 4,417 jobs.

And it cited a "lack of open land, urban issues in the 'inner ring suburbs,' and decreased federal and state funding . . . as obstacles to overcome."

Delta was presenting an interim report as it works with county leaders on a Local Economic Development (LED) strategy. It was hired in April 2012 with a $107,000 contract to work on the LED with the council, as well as with the county's Commerce Center and its Department of Workforce Development.

Trish Cofiell, the county government spokeswoman, said a final report was due in June.


 

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