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Lehigh Co. ranked in top ten for growth and investment

By Bo Koltnow, Reporter, BKoltnow@wfmz.com
Published On: Dec 16 2012 06:00:00 PM CST
Updated On: Dec 18 2012 04:22:35 AM CST

Lehigh County is going places so says an economic consulting group.

Lehigh County is going places says an economic consulting group.

The county has been named one of the top 10 counties in the U.S. to attract future growth and investment.

When you think top 10 lists, most look no further than David Letterman. However, a less humorous but far more impactful top 10 list has named Lehigh County as one of the leading areas nationally for growth and investment.

"Being a top 10 in the U.S. is significant," said former county executive and current head of the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation Don Cunningham.

Pittsburgh-based economic consulting group Fourth Economy put Lehigh County at number 7, just ahead of Polk County, Iowa.

The top spot went to Durham, North Carolina, an area you may know from the movie Bull Durham.

Cunningham says for Lehigh County, getting national attention is akin to a hitting an economic home run.

"What this means is it becomes an attractive place for business looking to relocate and equally important for business to stay, grow and expand here," he explained.

Cunningham points to national heavy hitters such as Ocean Spray breaking ground in Macungie, Ice River Spring Water moving in to Hanover Township and the downtown Allentown hockey arena projects, as examples of the county courting and catching businesses.

Just because Lehigh County is getting the attention that doesn't mean those wanting to attract business in Northampton County are left out in the cold.

Cunningham says what's good for one is good for another.

For proof of that, look no further than Porsche's distribution center in Palmer Township.

Since parking in Northampton in 2009, Porsche says business there has been on the fast track.

"Great highway system, airport system, general overall condition conducive," Robert Nimchak of Porsche, told us last May.

The Lehigh Valley Planning Commission predicts 37% economic growth and a quarter million more people, for the area over the next 30 years.

"I take this as recognition that the Lehigh Valley is a region that is growing and is poised for economic development heading into the future," Cunningham said.