REGION — The mayors of Oceanside, Carlsbad, Vista, San Marcos, and Escondido gathered at Cal State San Marcos Tuesday to unveil the 78-Corridor logo and Innovate78.com website.
The regional branding and economic development initiative will sell the fives cities along state Route 78 as the “upside of San Diego.”
Regional business space, housing and institutions of higher education will be sold to companies looking to start up or expand business.
The motto shared by the mayors is intended to keep businesses in the area.
“We have a more powerful voice when we speak as one,” Escondido Mayor Sam Abed said. “Without us working together we will not reach our economic potential.”
The regional logo is a pentagon shape with a “78” in the middle with the word “corridor” following. Each side of the pentagon is a different bright color to represent the five cites and top businesses clusters.
The website is both a city resource to attract businesses, and business resource to draw employees. It includes a description of each city, builds a business resource, and job portal. The website also highlights area attractions, educational institutions, and major industries. Area businesses are encouraged to link to the site.
“This website will ensure we’re sending the right message to businesses and employers about the 78 corridor,” Oceanside Mayor Jim Wood said.
City mayors, managers, economic development staff, and stakeholders have been meeting for two years to form a consensus on what the five cities hold as resources, and where challenges lie for business expansion.
Along the way partnerships between businesses, colleges and universities, and cities have developed.
Carlsbad Mayor Matt Hall said collaboration is as an ongoing process.
“We’ll never reach the point of ‘got there,’” Hall said.
Mayors and city planning staff are now in the process of coming up with a regional set of business and development regulations “best practices,” in order to market common best practices as regional standards.
Hall said mayors would be able to take back suggestions to their respective city councils in about 90 days. From there cities will take action to tweak city laws so businesses have a regional standard of what it takes to start up a business.
There are already numerous stories of businesses growing and staying in the area, by moving or expanding to one of the nearby five cities. The economic development initiative will perpetuate more of that happening.
Mayors, city managers and economic development staff will adopt a big picture approach and keep abreast of area resources.
San Marcos Mayor Jim Desmond said the collective benefit of a business setting up shop in a neighboring city is that all five cities profit from the demands for goods, services and housing of the company and its workers.
There are also city specific benefits.
Hall said Carlsbad has business space, and counts on the regional resources of housing and higher education that fellow cities have to draw in companies.
Vista Mayor Judy Ritter said her city has abundant space for small businesses, and can recommend large business operations locate in nearby cities.
“Because of the Innovate78 initiative we will see more collaboration like this in our future,” Ritter said.
Wood said he sees a benefit in the five cities collectively welcoming a business to the region.
“For any business that wants to come to the area it’s nice to get a letter with all five mayors signing,” Wood said.
Mayors agree collaborative efforts are just getting started.
“Innovate78 is by no means the end of the effort for the five cites,” Abed said. “It marks the beginning of a new partnership and a new way of thinking about regional growth.”