Request for Proposals for Update of the Region 2000 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy
The following responses are based on questions received prior to 5:00 p.m. on Friday November 6.
Proposals for this RFP must be received by 3:00 p.m. on Thursday, November 12.
Questions & Answers
1. In several places, the RFP goes to lengths to emphasize the importance of stakeholder engagement as part of the CEDS effort. Is this a general statement or are there any specific issues around stakeholder engagement that the LGC sees as being particularly pertinent? For example, are there any particularly thorny issues to be addressed via the stakeholder engagement process we should be aware of?
There are no known “thorny” issues, and the statement is largely general in nature. However, leaders of the Region 2000 Business and Economic Development Alliance (see the last two paragraphs of page 1 of the RFP) have expressed interest in utilizing the CEDS as the primary strategic plan for economic development in the region. Because of this, the LGC wants to ensure that input during the process and buy-in to the plan is achieved by all pertinent stakeholders, not just the LGC.
2. The RFP specifies that the CEDS should integrate with transportation plans and mentions a proposed Interconnectivity Transportation Plan. What is the anticipated timeline of the Interconnectivity plan? Can the consultants assume it will be completed during the CEDS planning process?
The LGC is a participant in this VDOT-led project, and anticipates that the interconnectivity study will be complete prior to the completion of the CEDS update.
3. In what ways does the LGC envision this process working with the separately-procured Amherst County plan?
While some of the stakeholders and committee members may be the same, the County of Amherst has created very specific expectations for its project scope and timeframe that anticipate the county-level project being complete well prior to the completion of the CEDS. It is assumed by the LGC that the consultant working on the CEDS update will find the Amherst County strategy and analysis useful, and that it will inform the development of certain portions of the CEDS.
4. Did Virginia’s Region 2000 have any external assistance with the 2011 CEDS process or the 2013 update?
No, the 2011 CEDS (which was the region’s first) was developed in-house.
5. If not, what spurred the organization to seek an outside firm this time?
The LGC opted to seek outside assistance with the 2016 CEDS update due to the document’s anticipated elevated utilization by other regional partners (see question 1) as well as high-profile issues and opportunities involving the region’s economy that have recently developed, including the closure of the Central Virginia Training Center and the reorganization of Sweet Briar College.
6. Was the Dashboard tool designed and implemented by Region 2000 staff or an external partner? Does anyone on staff currently manage it?
The current dashboard tool was developed by Entreworks as part of a previous EDA planning grant. It is currently maintained by LGC staff with technical assistance by Entreworks.
7. Are you expecting that the website will be updated during this process or upon approval of the CEDS?
The region2000dashboard.org site will be updated and/or redesigned as a part of the CEDS process, so this work would likely not take place until the final phases of the CEDS update have been reached. If the query refers to item “e” under “Scope of Work” (page 2 of the RFP), it is assumed that the consultant will regularly update a web presence for stakeholder involvement if that is part of the consultant’s public engagement plan.
8. Regarding the website-related tasks: can the consultants assume that their work will revolve around content creation and design suggestions for the to-be redesigned website or does the LGC expect the consultant to actually design and create the new website?
Currently, the project team wishes to have the update/redesign/expansion of region2000dashboard.org be a turnkey project under the purview of the consultant and its team of experts.
9. Regarding Deliverable D, should the consultant(s) be prepared to upload (updated) data to the www.region2000dashboard.org website, or will providing these data to Region 2000 in the form of a spreadsheet database satisfy the requirement?
The project team envisions an updated/redesigned/expanded version of the dashboard, and would anticipate that the consultant and its team of experts have a more active role than simply creating a data file to be uploaded.
10. Do you see the “website and content” in Tab 5 to be part of the communications strategy for the update of the CEDS, or is there another use you are envisioning? Do you presume that the website will be hosted on the LGC server or the consultant’s server?
In the context of Tab 5 (“Approach to Performing the Scope of Work”), the “website and content” mentioned specifically refers to an element of the consultant’s methodology for completing the project. Thus, if the consultant feels that a project-specific web presence is important for community relations and stakeholder involvement, it should include details on how that web presence would be manifested.
11. Were there any studies completed prior to announcement of the pending merger of the Region 2000 Business and Economic Development Alliance and the Lynchburg Regional Chamber of Commerce and if so, can they be made available with the Q&A responses?
The project team assumes that this question asks if any studies were conducted that recommended or led to the merger of the Alliance and Chamber. If this is correct, there were no studies of that type conducted prior to the merger announcement.
12. Can you share more information about selection committee and whether the evaluation criteria are weighted?
The selection committee consists of a handful LGC and Alliance staff as well as 5-6 representatives from the larger CEDS committee, which is currently in formation.
13. Can you clarify this sentence (under Scope of Work, f; page 2): “As part of the approach to engaging the stakeholder and providing relevant information for the update discussion, state of the knowledge speakers should be engaged to ensure a compelling and informative process.” Do you mean that you would like for us to involve subject matter experts from around the region or Virginia?
14. Regarding the state of knowledge speakers, are these people expected to be part of the project team, members of the community, outside experts, or any combination thereof?
The project team hopes for some involvement by outside subject matter experts, likely as speakers at CEDS committee meetings.
15. Can we assume that the reference to construction costs on Page 6 is not applicable?
Yes, please disregard.
16. Do the hard copies needed to be organized using physical tab dividers corresponding to the tabs in the proposal requirements outline?
The assembly methods and type of materials used to organize the response to the RFP are left to the consultant.
17. Will the Region 2000 Staff or CEDS steering committee arrange personnel introductions and/or provide cover letters to regional stakeholders who are not on the CEDS committee to facilitate interviews and participation in focus groups?