Planning the Future Economic Success of Meadowlands Region
Jim Kirkos, President & CEO, Meadowlands Regional Chamber of Commerce, talks about the 2040 Foundation, a non-profit organization with a mission to plan for the future economic success of the Meadowlands region.
"We're joined, once again, by our good friend, Jim Kirkos, President and CEO, Meadowlands Regional Chamber of Commerce. Good to see you Jim. Good to be here. Thank you. Again, I ask you this every time you're on, define the Meadowlands Region. The Meadowlands Region has actually grown for some time. Initially, the Meadowlands Chamber started out with the 14 municipalities that made up the Hackensack Meadowlands Development District, which was all of the wetlands in and around the sports complex. So there's 14 municipalities. But over time that region, economically, and through development, has grown to be about 28 or 29 municipalities. So take a picture of Hudson River, Route 17, or Passaic River, east and west, George Washington Bridge, Statue of Liberty, north and south. So we call that the Greater Meadowlands Region. So here's the thing. You and I have been having this conversation, along with a lot of others, as to what the challenges and the opportunities in that region are. So there's this initiative called the 2040 Foundation that was established, Fletch Creamer, some others...? Mm hmm. You know, other business leaders up there, created this along with the Chamber to do what? And what's supposed to happen in 2040? So what we really want to do is we want to make sure that we are business planning, we're vision planning, for a sustainable economy through the year 2040. And what we've seen... That far ahead? Well listen, what we've seen is most public policy is driven around the next election. And we've also seen a Meadowlands Commission that was absorbed by the Sports Authority, not renew their master plan. And so... Woah woah, back up. You got jargony on me right there. Sure. You're saying that so much of what happens in the Meadowland Area... Meadowlands Area is a product of what happens with the Sports Authority? Well the Sports Authority's now absorbed the regulatory practices of the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission. Why does that matter? Well, because there's a... they are the permitting entity, and the regulatory entity, that drives economic development, as well as environmental protection, in the Meadowlands Area. Why does that matter? To the average person, why does that matter? Well it matters because in order to sustain an economy, you have to be able to... you have to be able to responsibly develop and create jobs. Yeah. Got it. And so we want to look well into the future. We believe, along with those leaders, and people that have invested mightily in the Meadowlands over the years, that we need to take a snapshot. We need to look forward and say, "What will it take to sustain an economy, create a great quality of life..." and all of those wonderful communities...."