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Economic Gardening: A Homegrown Approach to Econo

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Economic Gardening:  A Homegrown Approach to Economic Development

By Ian Pulsipher Vol . 17, No. 37 / October 2009

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Economic
gardening helps
local businesses
develop jobs.

In 1987, thousands of residents of the Denver suburb of Littleton, Colo., lost their jobs when the city’s major employer, an aerospace company, announced massive layoffs.  Amid the local downturn and a national recession, Littleton decided to change its economic development strategy.  Instead of offering incentives to bring companies to the community, the city council set out “to work with local businesses to develop good jobs.” From that simple directive, the concept of economic gardening was born.  In the two decades since, the city has not spent a penny on business recruitment. Thanks to its homegrown approach to economic development, however, the city has added 20,000 jobs, and sales tax revenues increased from $6.8 million to $19.6 million.

   

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