The recent decision by JOCO First and the Buffalo Chamber of Commerce to collaborate on a variety of outreach programs is both welcome and good business.
While the details need to be ironed out, the two organizations have agreed to collaborate on marketing, advertising and economic development efforts in Johnson County, including marketing for conferences.
The move comes nearly two years after leaders of the chamber, JOCO First and the now-defunct Buffalo Downtown Association first met to discuss streamlining and coordinating efforts.
At that time, both county and city representatives stressed the importance of ensuring that there was no duplication of services. Officials also raised the specter that declining revenues would affect every organization that depends on public dollars. That possibility did come to pass earlier this year when the city and the county declined to fund the BDA’s full request, and the organization was forced to shutter.
Last week, this newspaper argued that it was time for the community to take stock of our recreational assets in order to help guide decisions about maintaining, improving and funding those assets.
Taking stock of our community’s “soft” assets could also help guide decisions about programming, imaging, advertising and funding of those endeavors. Soft assets include those things such as perceptions about the community, community events, community spirit, aesthetics and more.
In 2015, the KBJ Economic Development Joint Powers Board surveyed residents and past guests about their perceptions of the community with the goal of using the results to foster economic development.
It is time to revisit those results – or perhaps conduct another survey – so that we can maximize our soft assets and use them as leverage.
Are there holes in our communities’ offerings that could be filled by private business? What kind of events would convince guests to spend a little more time downtown and an extra night at a local hotel or motel?
No matter the situation, if we don’t have an accurate inventory of assets, it will be impossible to properly plan for the future.
Further, with diminishing tax revenues, the private, charitable and public sector must coordinate efforts to ensure that valued assets and services can be maintained at sustainable levels.