Strategic Economic Development Plan
City of Scranton
The City of Scranton is the seat of municipal government in Scranton, Pennsylvania, led by Mayor Paige Gebhardt Cognetti. This work was led by the City's Office of Economic Development, which provides resources and funding to foster public and private development.
Following decades of population decline and reduced tax base, the City of Scranton was seeking a catalytic strategic economic development plan to present a vision for the city that is forward-looking, actionable, and immediately implementable. The plan would seek to build on current opportunities, such as the city's successful exit from its Act 47 designation as a financially distressed community, as well as mitigate challenges such as the growing gap between median wage and livable wage. The plan would need to provide pathways towards a future Scranton that offers equitable opportunities for residents, growth and sustainability for businesses, and strength and resilience within the city's economy.
Over the course of six months, the Fourth Economy team led a strategic planning process that included in-depth economic analysis, robust community engagement, ideation and visioning processes, surveying, and strategy development. Each step of the process was cadenced to solicit maximum participation from Scranton residents and stakeholders with specific attention provided to representation from all of Scranton's neighborhoods and diverse communities. Build Sessions and small group meetings were hosted as a a means to solicit targeted resident input as well as co-creation of the plans final strategies and vision statements. Final strategies were framed around immediate (2-3 years), intermediate (3-7 years), and longer-term (10-20 years) horizons. These strategies prioritized industry growth, diverse talent, community pride, affordable and quality housing, and infrastructure as top priorities. This plan was executed in partnership with Connect the Dots, a community engagement firm that served in a subordinate capacity, aiding in community engagement within this scope.
The final plan included a suite of deliverables designed multiple use cases, including files for print and digital distribution, as well as a presentation deck communicating key economic insights in addition to the plan's core strategies. This materials will be leveraged to catalyze further investment within the city of Scranton, to foster collaboration with key local and regional stakeholders, as well as serve as a guide for the City's ongoing economic development efforts.