Priority Midland: Community leaders, officials, non-profits team up to address Midland issues

MIDLAND -- Hundreds of community members attended the launch of Priority Midland, an initiative that aims to solve hurdles brought about by economic expansion.

The initiative kicked off Monday night at the Wagner Noel Performing Arts Center.

The launch included speeches from two keynote speakers, General (Ret.) Stanley McChrystal and economist Dr. Ray Perryman.

Priority Midland is a collaboration between community leaders from the city and county governmental entities, leaders in local industries, as well as private foundations.

General McChrystal highlighted the importance of creating a team made up of different entities working together toward a common goal. The veteran recounted his experience from developing and implementing a counter insurgence effort in Afghanistan.

Midland City Councilman At-Large, Spencer Robnett, explained the importance of creating this “team of teams.”

“This is the greatest gathering and the greatest collective of community leaders, non-profits and public officials maybe ever assembled in the history of Midland,” Robnett said.

And Priority Midland is right in time for what world-renown economist Dr. Perryman said is a situation “that has never occurred before.”

“It looks like oil, which is now at an all-time high production out here, 50 percent higher than the all-time high, and it looks like we’re almost going to double it again just in the next few years,” Perryman said.

Perryman explained the importance of looking ahead while implementing measure to catch-up with the city’s current growth.

“Anytime you have growth of what I expect in the future, you’ll have needs in terms of housing, going to have needs in terms of healthcare, education, workforce and workforce training, infrastructure and amenities, cultural activities, art, sports, things that make this area a real attractive place to live,” he said.

Priority Midland aims to increase funding for projects in all those arenas, reduce project timeframes, and create a standard plan for partnerships.

Community leaders with expertise in areas can sign up for “working groups” that focus on a specific need. Then the initiative works to get public or private funding.

Priority Midland is a year in the making, and kicked off with seed money from the Midland Development Corporation (MCD).

MCD hired Austin-based TIP Strategies, Dr. Perryman, and The McChrystal Group as consultants.