There is a unique sense of place to Marin, a small-town charm that brings families together and out-of-towners.
Enjoy a bike ride along the bay and a hot cup of coffee at your favorite mom-and-pop cafe before making your way west to the rolling hills and redwood giants to enjoy dinner and sunset on the Pacific Coast. can.
Each city and town plays a part in weaving the tapestry that makes Marin so appealing. Our economy reflects this vitality.
Marin has diverse businesses in animal husbandry, agriculture, biotech, manufacturing, personal services, health and wellness, restaurants and retail, as well as regional and international tourism. Marin County’s economy is coming back. We face an important question: How can we partner together to promote equality, sustainability and shared community values?
We encourage everyone to shop local and enjoy time on the town and out. Marineites supported our local business during the COVID-19 pandemic and we need it to continue.
According to a 2012 survey by Civic Economics, approximately 47.7% of revenue from independent retailers is rerouted into the local economy, as opposed to 13.6% for national chains. For restaurants, approximately 64.9% of revenue from independent restaurants is rerouted into the local economy.
Our cities and towns have joined other communities in not emphasizing parking in our streets and giving new prominence to outdoor seating and renovated streets to facilitate outdoor dining. These first steps and lessons learned are new and inviting social infrastructure, outdoor spaces that offer good food, company and interaction, a way businesses support and remain publicly accessible.
Projects like Reimagining Creek Park in San Anselmo are a good example. Creek Park began as a flood mitigation effort. But, with a dose of creative thinking, the plans paved the way for the inclusion of an inviting community space. This natural asset revitalizes the local economy and supports small businesses.
During the pandemic, public and private partners have come together through the Marin Economic Recovery Task Force to respond to the economic crisis. The task force’s main focus is state and federal advocacy to address policy and bring funding to the local level.
Working with the Marin Economic Forum, the county has received $130,820 in federal dollars to fund the Economic Vitality Strategic Plan.
Marin is finalizing the formation of a 15-member steering committee to help guide the economic vitality strategic plan. The committee will have multiple representations, including elected officials, leaders from the public and private sector.
We know we need to focus on creating a business environment that attracts and retains businesses. We can foster a vibrant and dynamic labor market for a post-pandemic economy by investing in human capital through upskilling opportunities such as apprenticeships. Marin also has a strong pool of entrepreneurs who can provide a wealth of knowledge and creative energy.
The Workforce Alliance of the North Bay (WANB) provides job training and employment services to make our businesses more accessible and more marketable to job seekers. In March, WANB approved a contract with Equus as a carrier service provider in Marin, Napa, Lake and Mendocino counties. This change will bring about a coordinated and regional strategic approach to job training and employment services and deepen employment partnerships.
What does success look like? We can begin by incorporating an equity lens into long-standing issues such as reliable and affordable child care, meeting the needs of the aging workforce, and the recruitment and retention of the workforce. A healthy economy means providing opportunities to all.
We look forward to your participation in the citizen dialogue as we begin the planning process. With a strategic planning grant in hand, and significant one-time federal and state dollars available, we understand the opportunity to positively impact Marin’s business environment, our city and social spaces.
This is a unique opportunity for Marin to create a new cohesive approach.
Damon Connolly is a Marin County Supervisor and co-chair of the Marin Economic Recovery Task Force. Brian Colbert is the mayor of San Anselmo and a co-founder of the Marin County Council of Mayors and the Councilmembers Economic Recovery Committee.