The Coastal Alabama Partnership (CAP) is about bringing together business and political leadership for collaboration in infrastructure, education, and governmental services in Baldwin County and Mobile County, Alabama. As part of this effort, the organization is undertaking a Regional Strategic Plan to create a vision and strategy for people, place, and prosperity in the two county region.
As part of a team led by Goodwin Mills and Cawood, Planning NEXT designed and facilitated a week-long series of workshops with stakeholders in the region to gain insight on the vision and goals for the region and actions and priorities to achieve those goals. While some events throughout the week were directed to the overall vision for the region, others allowed stakeholders to focus on specific issues like economic competitiveness, quality of place, tourism, mobility, and resiliency.
Preparing a regional vision and strategy is a complex undertaking. In Coastal Alabama, there are two counties, 2,300 square miles of land, 24 municipalities, 3 metropolitan planning organizations, 10 chambers of commerce, 100s of local plans, and 1,000s of interests. One might ask, “what’s in it for me?” By referencing examples from other region’s we demonstrated that outcomes such as increased internal pride and positive external recognition could lead to increased prosperity (jobs, incomes, revenues, visitors, etc.) and emotional attachment to place.
The workshop identified dozens of potential big ideas to advance Coastal Alabama. A few of those ideas include a collaborative branding campaign, rebuilding of the I-10 bridge with distinctive design, a local food initiative that involves seafood, aquaculture and culinary arts, and a workforce readiness initiative.