Tuesday, March 24, 2009

More econ development efforts from other places...

Just to keep a good thing going here are more reports on other communities and how they are dealing with a down economy and their quests for improving their situations...

Lilburn group tries to start community improvement district

A group of civic and business leaders from Lilburn have begun work to establish Gwinnett County’s fourth community improvement district.

Community improvement districts, or CIDs, are made up of businesses and property owners who agree to tax themselves to generate money to pay for economic development and transportation related projects.

I think in Arizona these sorts of plans are called community facilities districts (CFD's), sound similar in any case. CFD's could be used for projects in Kingman (just not Kingman Crossing... anyone know why??).

King, Atwood urge unity on development

BRUNSWICK — Brunswick's two at-large town councilors on Monday proposed a series of "achievable" economic development goals they hope the council — recently polarized over economic development philosophies — will endorse.


The proposed goals arise at a critical time for the town, which faces the looming closure of Brunswick Naval Air Station, several empty storefronts on Maine Street and two key vacancies, including an economic development director, in municipal government.

Exacerbating the dilemma are the polarized "visions" of economic development endorsed by councilors. Some have supported careful, considered development and others — most consistently represented by King — have repeatedly expressed frustration that the council "fails to act on economic development" despite a loss of businesses and jobs.


The proposed goals, outlined by King on Monday, include successful completion of the Maine Street Station project; support of existing businesses and attraction of new businesses; support of efforts to improve education about activities of various economic development organizations; and "active" endorsement of efforts to expand the creative economy.


In recent years, councils, as well as town staff and boards, have struggled with developing a unified vision for economic development. For example, they stumbled over a joint development agreement for the Maine Street Station project; then argued at length before finally killing a proposed town business park.

Recently, councilors advocating different approaches to economic development lobbed angry barbs over a proposed gateway overlay district at a major Pleasant Street intersection that would allow a large Walgreens store.

Apologies for the length of this share, but to me at least there were many similarities to what I have witnessed here in Kingman for many years.

Growth agency touts progress in tough times

When a plastics recycler decided late last year to move into the long vacant Reichert Stamping plant in Sylvania Township, it didn't attract headlines.

But the decision by Next Resins, Addison, Mich., was among the quiet victories achieved last year by Toledo's nonprofit Regional Growth Partnership and other economic development agencies.

"We have high unemployment, a tough economy, a lot of work to be done, but there is economic prosperity," President Steve Weathers said at the partnership's annual meeting yesterday.


Its early-stage venture capital fund, Rocket Ventures, awarded more than $1.8 million in grants to high-tech companies.

The fund's Ignite program provided a dozen entrepreneurs with $50,000 grants each. This year, administrators of that program plan to boost total grants to $750,000 from $600,000 in 2008.

The fund, which provides other types of assistance, received 225 inquiries last year. It is working with 32 new firms, and officials hope to boost that number to 100 by the end of next year, said Greg Knudson, director of Rocket Ventures. The start-up companies are involved in bioscience, health care, alternative energy, and advanced materials.

The partnership and other economic development agencies in the region helped attract 1,500 jobs and investments of $409 million in 2008, officials reported.

Projects included Next Resins, which will spend $3.5 million at the former Reichert Stamping plant and create 30 jobs there.

In addition, northwest Ohio's solar-energy industry attracted coverage from CNN, ABC World News Tonight, and Fox Business News, partnership officials said.

Despite tough economic times, the partnership worked with 139 firms contemplating a move or expansion in northwest Ohio or southeast Michigan.

That was a 60 percent increase from 2007.

And, if January and February are any indications of the rest of this year: "We're going to have a very exciting 2009," said Dean Monske, vice president of business development.
Folks... partnerships, economic development agencies, 1,500 jobs created, $409 MILLION in new investments, 139 firms considering moving to the region... in Ohio?? All I ever hear about Ohio is that it is located in one of the worst economic areas for activity (otherwise I hear it is a pretty nice place). Throw in a solar power energy industry... in Ohio no less... there is simply no excuse why this A) isn't happening in Kingman/Mohave County and B) efforts to do such things aren't covered by the main source of media in this town.

Economic development issues on tonight’s agenda

City commissioners will discuss two economic development issues at their meeting this evening.

Commissioners will consider approving a new overarching policy to govern economic development incentives, like tax abatements.

The policy will create a new cost-benefit model that commissioners will use to measure whether tax abatements are fiscally feasible. It also will set new guidelines on how large of an abatement should be offered to firms interested in moving or expanding in Lawrence.

The key term is fiscally feasible... I realize a term like that gets lost on the hardliners around here, either that or the hardliners accuse those with an open mind of being bought off by out of town developers. Whatever.

Mayor Pam Iorio delivers multimedia presentation at Tampa Convention Center

Progress, in terms of neighborhoods, economic development, mass transit and the arts, was the theme of a multimedia State of the City presentation delivered by Mayor Pam Iorio at 10 a.m. Monday to a standing room only crowd of roughly 800 at the Tampa Convention Center.


In the video Iorio highlighted some of the city’s significant developments of the past 12 months, including construction of a 353,000-square-foot Ikea store near Ybor City that is slated to bring 400 new jobs.

Iorio also drew attention to East Tampa, the site of several community center upgrades as well as the future location of a $4 million Fifth Third Bank facility on Hillsborough Avenue.

Wait, wait, wait... a new retail store and a new bank facility?? In this economy?? Hard to see when hiding in a shell I guess.

Last one...

City goals include streets, bayfront

TRAVERSE CITY -- City commissioners have their hands full with goals to cut employee benefit costs, boost economic development outside downtown, fix city streets and improve the bayfront.

Those and other issues are among a host of matters commissioners pitched as their personal priorities.

The city commission tonight will clarify and prioritize a draft list of 12 goals that will influence the city budget.

"I get the sense that people are recognizing some of the most important issues in the city, and saying instead of 'we need to eliminate a cell phone for employee C, or a car for employee D', I think commissioners are now starting to think in a big picture," Mayor Michael Estes said.


The list also includes projects on which the city wants to spend more money, such as streets, infrastructure and bayfront amenities.

Here is more from the list of their goals at that link.

-- Address tax increment financing and the Downtown Development Authority

-- Foster economic development outside the downtown

-- Improve streets and other infrastructure

-- Work with surrounding jurisdictions to receive more funding for the city's regional assets, such as Hickory Hills and the Senior Center

-- Address city parks and recreation facilities

-- Implement the bayfront plan

-- Work with the Michigan Department of Transportation to redesign and reconstruct Division Street.

These were just a few but as you can see, many communities are in some form of similar straights. I just get the overwhelming feeling that the longer we stay in our 'shells', as it were, the longer it is going to take this community to recover. It won't happen until this community actually begins taking steps to improve the economic conditions in a way that is heard loud and clear (you know, gets reported on by the media... and if the media actually doesn't have anything to report on, then the lack of progress leads to the city).

Until next time...

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