Development

Partnership optimistic about interaction with Charlotte Chamber

President and CEO of Charlotte Regional Partnership Ronnie Bryant speaks during the group’s presentation of their annual Jerry Awards at the Charlotte Convention Center on Tuesday.
President and CEO of Charlotte Regional Partnership Ronnie Bryant speaks during the group’s presentation of their annual Jerry Awards at the Charlotte Convention Center on Tuesday. jkomer@charlotteobserver.com

The head of the Charlotte Regional Partnership said Tuesday that he’s optimistic about the group’s role in the economic development landscape as a study about how the group works with the Charlotte Chamber nears completion.

The chamber and the partnership agreed to a joint study of their respective roles and responsibilities last year. Both groups work to lure companies, but the chamber covers only Charlotte while the partnership covers 16 area counties, including four in upstate South Carolina.

That left the groups in a tug of war sometimes over their roles. And the state legislature created a new Economic Development Partnership last year that’s taking a more active role in the state’s regional economic growth. It has a requirement to raise private money that could put it in competition with the Charlotte Regional Partnership for funding.

But there’s still a place for the partnership, officials said Monday.

“Every effort should be made to ensure the funding levels to the CRP are more than sufficient to maintain your high quality of service to your constituents,” said Katie Tyler, head of the task force carrying out the study.

She said results from the study, which was funded by the Foundation for the Carolina, including a dozen recommendations about how best to carry out economic development in the state, will be reviewed by the group and released in the coming weeks.

Ronnie Bryant, the partnership’s CEO, said he’s confident the full study’s results will help solidify the partnership’s future.

“We’re getting some early results, I would say high-level conclusions, that we think are quite favorable to the partnership,” Bryant told the Observer.

“Hopefully this will clear up the roles of the respective organizations and give us an opportunity to work together in a much more collaborative way,” he said.

Bryant also said he hopes the study’s conclusions will help it raise more money. About 75 percent of the Charlotte Regional Partnership’s $3 million annual budget is from private sources.

“When we rolled out the study ... it really put some people in a holding pattern,” Bryant said.

Charlotte Chamber officials declined to comment Tuesday.

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Twitter: @ESPortillo

Jerry Awards winners honored

The Charlotte Regional Partnership presented its annual Jerry Awards to the the Charlotte Hornets and Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont on Tuesday.

Both organizations were honored for their contributions to the region’s economy and image.

The awards are named for two well-known Charlotte men named Jerry: Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson, and Jerry Orr, former Charlotte Douglas International Airport aviation director. They were the first recipients of the awards.

Ely Portillo

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