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Economic group gets accreditation

Profile image for By Karina Ramírez / Staff Writer
By Karina Ramírez / Staff Writer

The Denton Economic Development Partnership recently received accreditation from an international organization after a lengthy review.

The International Economic Development Council (IEDC), a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising the profile of the economic development profession, named the local partnership an Accredited Economic Development Organization.

The local partnership is the 34th nationally accredited entity by the IEDC. It is also the second accredited entity in the North Texas area and the ninth in Texas, said Karen Dickson, vice president of economic development for the Denton Chamber of Commerce.

“It [accreditation] demonstrates we know our stuff and know what we are doing,” Dickson said. “We know what it takes to help people and their businesses.”

Dickson said she was pleased the local partnership was recognized as an economic program of excellence among its peers in the economic development industry.

Aimee Bissett, the city’s economic development director, said the AEDO designation lends credibility to the city and the chamber’s joint economic development efforts.

“It also demonstrates our commitment to an ethical, high-quality process for economic development in the city of Denton,” she said in an e-mail.

To acquire the accreditation, the local partnership went through a comprehensive peer review process that included a documentation review and an on-site visit.

Officials with the local partnership sent their application in September 2011 and were notified of the accreditation last week.

The city and chamber formed the Economic Development Partnership in 1987, according to its website. In 2003, the Economic Development Board was created to oversee the activities of both the city and chamber economic development departments.

Through the partnership, the local group created a strategic plan concentrating on four components: developing the downtown area, enhancing the city’s image, developing a business park (now called Granite Point) and partnering with the University of North Texas in the development, marketing and promotion of Discovery Park, the university’s research park.

“Those are some of the things we have accomplished,” Dickson said. “The Discovery Park has been a bit slow in getting off the ground, but we are working with some businesses there.”

Additionally, the city adopted a new slogan — “Denton. North of Ordinary” — in 2005 and created its second tax-increment zone to spur development in the industrial park on the city’s west side.

The IEDC has 4,600 members worldwide who serve economic development professionals. The local partnership will need to renew its accreditation every three years, Dickson said.

KARINA RAMÍREZ can be reached at 940-566-6878 and via Twitter @KarinaFRamirez.