A cold storage facility, microbreweries and a hemp production facility are all areas of interest in the town of Leland’s proposed economic development strategic plan.
The 2019 Strategic Plan for Economic Development is up for adoption by the town's Economic Development Committee this week. The proposal is the first strategic plan for the town of Leland's economic development, said Gary Vidmar, the town’s economic and community development director.
“Most of what has been done by the Economic Development Committee until now has been ad hoc … there has been no solid vision or long-term plan in mind. So now, we finally have a plan to follow,” Vidmar said Wednesday.
The proposed plan emphasizes, among other things, collaboration with organizations through the town and within the North Brunswick area, he said.
“It’s important that we collaborate with other organizations both in the town and in the region to accomplish this vision,” Vidmar said.
It also includes an action plan showing what the town's Economic Development Committee would like to accomplish over the next three years.
“That’s important so we can pick things off both in the short term and long term … and to monitor and to make sure we can accomplish our goals," Vidmar said.
The town of Leland Economic Development Committee has worked to develop the plan since November 2018, according to an executive summary written in town documents
The three-year strategic plan focuses on four strategic initiatives: increase travel and tourism, retirement community support and outreach, agricultural support services and expansion of high-tech manufacturing sectors.
The plan highlights strategic initiatives that include increasing Leland’s footprint in support services to the agricultural industry with several tactics, such as looking into the Port of Wilmington’s activities in agricultural shipping, and possibly, a cold storage facility in Leland.
That same strategy also targets the promotion of microbrewery activity in the town and an investor club that could leverage the town’s federally designated Opportunity Zones or fund startups.
The proposed plan also includes action items that could bring light industrial and high-tech manufacturing business to the town. The strategy aims to utilize Opportunity Zones, as well as voluntary annexations of industrial land.
The Economic Development Committee will hear the plan and consider adoption at its meeting Thursday. If approved, the strategic plan will be recommended to Leland Town Council for adoption June 20.