Fulton Mail in Downtown Fresno. Photograph courtesy chris.jackson on Flickr.
Local leaders across in California’s San Joaquin Valley are working together to bring economic growth to the entire region.
Officials from fourteen different municipalities in California’s San Joaquin Valley, along with California State University – Fresno, the California Central Valley Economic Development Corporation and the San Joaquin Valley Regional Policy Council have partnered to create Smart Valley Places, a coalition working to transform the Valley from one of the most economically challenged and underserved areas of the country into a thriving place to live, work and play.
“It’s almost as if they’ve found the balance,” said John Lehn, President and CEO of the Kings County Economic Development Corporation, part of the Smart Valley Places group. “Let’s focus on the things we do have in common. That has resulted in both state and federal officials really opening their eyes to the cooperation that’s happened in the Central Valley.”
The centerpiece of Smart Valley Places’ work is a single integrated plan for regional growth that will guide the San Joaquin Valley for the next 20 years and even beyond. The plan will span eight counties and over a dozen cities to preserve agricultural land, focus development near economic centers and address local and regional mass transit, energy and housing issues. Smart Valley Places projects vary across the region, from transit-oriented development in Tulare, to downtown revitalization in Hanford, all fitting into a “single integrated plan for regional growth.”