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'Holistic economic development strategy' recommended for Med Tech

COREY SHOUN • Feb 6, 2007 at 9:09 AM

JOHNSON CITY - In its final recommendation, the consulting firm charged with providing an updated and realistic plan for Johnson City's Med Tech future has pointed to a holistic approach to reach the city's economic potential.

Atlanta-based Market Street Services Inc. listened to feedback from its clients - the city, East Tennessee State University and Mountain States Health Alliance commissioned the study at a cost of $90,000 - and added to previous recommendations and options for implementation of a renewed try at Med Tech prominence.

The new "Option 3" for implementation of the study builds on a previous suggestion for a new organizational structure that would likely be the best approach but has not been attempted to this point. Other options include empowering an existing economic development-oriented body with the resources and responsibility to truly oversee Med Tech development or creating a new panel charged with the same mission.

"A holistic economic development strategy with a public/private partnership to implement it ... is likely to be the most effective approach to economic development in Johnson City and Washington County," the study states. "Although it is possible for a single entity to take this approach, it makes the most sense for the city and county to work together on this.

"One thing is clear: The current organizational structure in Johnson City and Washington County is not reaching the maximum success that the community is capable of achieving."

Market Street Services representatives said a holistic economic development strategy would include subjects such as retention and expansion of existing businesses, tourism, downtown revitalization, quality of life, leadership development, regionalism, education and work force development, and target sector development "going beyond Med Tech to encompass other parts of the local economy."

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