City Council responds to ‘Innovate78’ economic development updates

VISTA — Along the 78 Corridor, the five cities of Vista, Escondido, Carlsbad, Oceanside and San Marcos continue their partnership with the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation (EDC) with the goal to collaborate and bolster the economy of each city. During a Vista City Council meeting in June, Matt Sanford of the San Diego Regional EDC mentioned that he wanted to check in every six months to provide the latest updates.

Innovate78 launched its brand in April 2015. Since that time, Sanford said there had been good exposure for the 78 corridor by way of local media, newsletters and other types of communications.

“As we move forward, we’re really at a good point, one where we now look to leverage our branding and provide more direct support,” he said.

Sanford went on to mention that Globarket Recycling Attraction had plans to relocate from Mexico to Vista with a $3 million initial investment and 30 full-time employees.

Following the presentation, Councilman John Aguilera thanked Sanford for the information but also revisited a question from a recent North County meeting. It had to do with the possible downside of potential employers viewing the high cost of housing and affordability in North County.

Sanford explained that the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation was taking a firm look at the inclusive economic development and how they were able to make sure that their work touched and supported all populations.

“One of the biggest challenges for people in certain companies is the cost of living and affordability here in San Diego,” he said. “We are actually looking at affordable cost of living as a competitive, mutual competitiveness issue.”

Another item was assessing how this topic affects the economy laterally.

“That is a factor that we hope to have some more good data on in the coming quarter, and we’ve been doing a lot of work with the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., to better understand this,” said Sanford, adding that they were hoping to have more data in the upcoming quarter.

Councilwoman Amanda Rigby thanked Sanford for the report.

“When we first started talking about doing this (Innovate78) and getting the regional involvement, I was a little skeptical of the program and how it would work in Vista,” she said.

While it was important to bring up the region, Rigby said, her primary interests were in Vista.

“You’ve proven how that would work in concert with the region and how we still are focusing efforts on Vista and bringing jobs here in North County as well as Vista,” she said. “I just want to say thank you for doing such a great job. I’m not so much of a skeptic anymore.”

Mayor Judy Ritter thanked Sanford for the presentation.

“We’ve been working with all the mayors of the four adjoining cities, trying to bring in more jobs and good-paying jobs to our region,” Ritter said. “That’s our focus right now.”

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