Delco has “The Edge” in culture, commerce, education and… pizza
The 2014 State of Delaware County address also served as the movie premiere for a Delaware County video that will be used to trumpet the county’s assets to residents and potential businesses and their employees.
Delaware County Council Chairman Tom McGarrigle gave the State of the County address at the annual luncheon hosted by the Delaware County Chamber of Commerce at the Towne House in Media.
After remarking how Pica’s Pizza in Upper Darby made national headlines for Delaware County when a pie was delivered to Delco native Tina Fey on the set of “The Tonight Show,” McGarrigle said there are many assets that give the county “an edge” over other counties.
“When your county is mentioned on ‘The Tonight Show,’ you know it’s a great place,” McGarrigle said. “Pop culture aside, Delaware County has many assets that put us on the map. My goal today is to shine a spotlight on some of those assets. One way we are promoting our county is through a new video titled ‘Delaware County: Proud of our Past; Energized About Our Future’.”
The video is airing on the county website and is available to all community groups interested in sharing its message. The video points to economic success stories throughout the county and economic partnerships that benefit county schools and children.
McGarrigle said that the State of the County is resilient, robust and positioned for future success. The number of people employed in Delaware County has steadily increased over the past three years. According to the Dept. of Labor and Industry, from 2011-to January 2014, there has been an increase of 6,100 people in the county workforce.
“Bringing new jobs to the county and sustaining the jobs we have is a key priority for County Council,” he said.
McGarrigle cited a recent Franklin & Marshall College poll that states that the two most important things to Pennsylvanians are education and the economy.
Regarding education, County Council has excellent partnerships with local schools, universities and the Delaware County Intermediate Unit.
- Last year, after the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, the county secured a grant to install silent alarms in all of schools to enhance the emergency response in case our students and teachers are threatened.
- Every year, the District Attorney holds a Safe Schools Summit to address various issues from bullying and Internet crimes to the threat of an armed intruder. This year’s Safe Schools Summit takes place in May and will focus on each school’s role in recognizing the warning signs of drug addiction and how to educate families about prescription drug abuse.
- Last week, Council unveiled a video training series to help school personnel and other people who work with children recognize and report child abuse.
- The Delaware County Heroin Task Force continues to work to reduce the threat of heroin and prescription drug abuse, particularly among our young people.
Economy and jobs
“When it comes to the economy and jobs, Delaware County was named a powerhouse in job growth in Pennsylvania in 2013. The Keystone Research Center said that Delaware County ranks as the 10th fastest-growing county in the state in job growth,” McGarrigle said.
One of Delaware County’s greatest assets is its access to all forms of transportation, including the airport, regional rail, buses and trolleys, Delaware River ports and the I-95 corridor. Thanks to state legislators, the state’s 2013 transportation funding bill means we will be seeing many improvements that will improve your drive, or your ride.
- PennDOT will be spending $43.5 million in Delaware County on our roads and bridges, including the expansion of the Route 252-Rose Tree Road intersection in Upper Providence.
- SEPTA will be spending $171.5 million on improvements to the Media Elwyn regional rail line, the 69th Street Transportation Center, the Media Sharon Hill trolley line and the overall public transit system. These improvements generate jobs and enhance business.
- The Eddystone Rail Project that will transport Bakken crude to shipping ports on the Delaware River is a huge opportunity for Delaware County and there are already hundreds of workers transforming the rail/port facility. At the same time, the county’s emergency officials are working to ensure that this operation is as safe as possible for our communities. A week ago, there was a major emergency training drill involving our Local Emergency Planning Committee to determine the safest way to move forward.
- The Eddystone Rail Project and companies like Monroe Energy in Trainer and Exelon in Eddystone…put Delaware County at the leading edge of the energy industry. Delaware County is front and center for initiatives that delve into new areas of energy that will be cleaner, more efficient and reduce our demand on foreign sources.
“Just last week, leaders from the Marcellus Shale industry spoke at a seminar at the Widener University Small Business Development Center. They stressed the unlimited opportunities in the shale industry all along the supply chain, not just in the drilling region. One speaker at that event said Delaware County received a financial boost from impact fees of $942,756 in 2012.
McGarrigle said county officials are now implementing the 10-year Local Economic Development strategy. One of our first goals is to market Delaware County throughout the state, the nation, and even globally.
“Soon you will see a bold new marketing campaign that will let the world know that Delaware County has THE EDGE…in location, workforce, innovation, education and quality of life,” McGarrigle said.