Sunday, May 31, 2015

Downtown Development Incentives Return

The agenda packet for the June 2nd City Council meeting included information on downtown development.  City Staff and Catalyst Urban Development will present:

1.  Discussion and consideration of the recommendation of the DDC board to adopt incentive policy framework as proposed by Catalyst Urban Development and City staff.

2.  Discussion and possible action regarding funding for incentive policy framework as recommended by DDC board, and as proposed by Catalyst Urban Development and City staff.

City Council engaged Catalyst Urban Development and this is the culmination of Phase II of four possible phases.

...a funding strategy/incentive framework has been prepared by Mr. Rutherford and submitted to staff for review. A draft of this document was presented to the Downtown Development Commission at their meeting on May 12th. Commission members provided additional edits and suggestions, which were conveyed to Mr. Rutherford shortly thereafter. The resulting final draft of this document - with these edits and suggestions addressed - is attached. Key questions which need to be addressed by the Council in order for staff to proceed are:

1. Does the Council have a desire to contribute funding to this incentive strategy? 
2. Does the Council have edits or suggestions to make related to the draft document? 
3. Does the Council desire to acquire or facilitate acquisition of key properties for economic development purposes? 
4. If the contribution of funding is desired, what level of funding, and from what source
5. Should collaboration between Council, COSADC, and TIRZ take place to align priorities to support this effort? 
6. Organizationally, the designation/creation of a staff position (as suggested in the report, a "single source position that serves as the clearinghouse for City Center interests requiring an economic development process, in most cases, held by the economic development department of the respective City") as well as any associated funding requirements.
I expected this level of discussion during Council's strategic planning effort, which was not recorded or shared with the public for the second consecutive year.  COSADC's Roland Pena talked numerous times to the Development Corporation board about developing several buildings, including downtown, as possible strategies.

Council's packet has "N/A" under financial impact, but the presentation has several example projects that require substantial funding to fill projected financial gaps.  The financial impact could be significant.  

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