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Town of Fairfield Economic Development Strategy

The Town of Fairfield asked CERC to develop a strategic work plan that would mobilize municipal support and guide the efforts of the Town’s Economic Development Commission (EDC) and other municipal actors as they built a strategic economic vision. Fairfield, which has a strong, stable community with a well-regarded quality of life, has several economic development issues that, with a thoughtful approach, could also be viewed as opportunities for growth. To help them do so, CERC was engaged to identify strategic action steps that would guide the Town in its economic development policy making.

To better understand the key issues and to develop this plan, CERC gathered input from the Town’s business community and residents in a number of ways. CEO Bob Santy met with leading members of Fairfield’s business community as well as the board of the Fairfield Chamber of Commerce to hear about their visions for the Town and critical investments that they thought should be made for the Town’s future. CERC also surveyed Fairfield residents and members of the business community to gauge why they chose to live or locate a business there and about their use of various local services. Based on this data-gathering, CERC then led a consensus-building workshop for key Fairfield stakeholders that helped refine their suggestions and concerns. CERC also reviewed a series of best practices that would be applicable to Fairfield’s strengths and developed an industry analysis to support the Town’s business attraction and retention policies.

Fairfield Community & Economic Development Director Mark Barnhart (right) with Bob Santy, President & CEO of CERC

The final deliverable for this project was a report centered around the concept of maintaining the appealing quality of life in town. The report included a series of recommendations grouped under four themes: Making Fairfield More Business Friendly; Maintaining Fairfield’s Quality of Life; Nurturing Hospitality and Tourism; and Marketing and Branding Fairfield. Each of the recommendations within these themes was focused on achievable goals that build on the Town’s strengths and did not require undue costs. Moreover, many of the recommendations focused on ways for the Town government to interact with the business community or area nonprofits (such as its notable universities) to build on past successes and stimulate new growth.

The final report was provided to the Town’s Director of Economic Development, who then shared it with the local government, members of the business community, and residents, in order to garner feedback for next steps and implementation.

"CERC was instrumental in working with the Fairfield Economic Development Commission in thinking strategically about our community’s long-range economic development goals and developing actionable steps by which we could achieve those goals.  The end result was a plan document that enables the Commission to rally support, marshal resources and track progress."

Mark Barnhart

Read the press release, "Economic Development Commission to create long-range plan"