Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry is proposing a long-term economic development plan to retain and keep jobs in the county.

The process started in January with the first phase of the proposal, Huckelberry said. Then the county asked for public input and received 130 comments.

With that feedback, the revised plan emphasizes retaining jobs that already exist in Pima County, and then creating new positions, Huckelberry said.

He said he would like the county to focus on jobs in the industry areas of aerospace and defense, science, technology, solar energy and biotechnology.

“We know what things we need to do to basically attract employment and get employment going here, and that’s what this plan does,” he said. "It doesn’t talk about planning for the future, it talks about acting now."

One example, Huckelberry said, is retaining the national defense contractor Raytheon on the southeast side of the Tucson metro area.

Raytheon decided to move part of its operation to Huntsville, Ala., and it has been one of Huckelberry’s goals to prevent that from happening again.

“This plan contains really specific actions” to avert such a loss, he said.

For example, Huckelberry's plan recommends the county move Hughes Access Road in the next two years, at a cost of $8 million. Raytheon has said the road on the southeast side is too close to its building to safely accommodate manufacturing facilities.

The document also says the jurisdictions in the region have to work together to accomplish any of the goals, which also include revitalizing tourism and creating a positive environment for businesses, Huckelberry said.

“Whatever happens in Pima County helps us all and so what we really want to do is make sure all the jurisdictions understand that, that we’re not a competitor,” he said.

Read the proposed Pima County Economic Development Plan: View at Google Docs | Download File