GWEDC consultant will tell how city ranks in development

The consultant hired by the Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition will provide a report card on how Wichita ranks in the economic development world and how to improve it.

The group has hired Site Selection Group of Dallas for $70,000, plus travel expenses.

There won't be any generalities, said Vicki Pratt Gerbino, president of the coalition.

"This is what we need," she said, "not a broad brush."

The plan will be paid for with public money, already within the coalition budget.

The coalition's 2009 budget is composed of about $600,000 from local government and $600,000 from the private sector.

Also this year, the coalition has $208,000 from a federal grant to develop the composites industry.

The study will contain:

* How Wichita and 940 other cities compare on dozens of factors, such as work force skills and wages, utility costs, infrastructure, cost of living, unionization, schools, regulatory environment and major employers.

* Figure which cities Wichita should regard as natural competitors in different industries, and how well we compete against them.

* An analysis of potential competitors for aircraft investment, and how Wichita stacks up against them.

* Which industries should Wichita pursue and how well the city could develop those industries.

* How three to five communities have been able to move from an economy dependent on one industry to a diverse economy.

* The names of 10 to 20 likely companies to pursue within those industries.

* A marketing plan, including recommended changes in incentives, regulations, training needs, real estate schemes and other strategies.