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Posted on: February 27, 2023

Commission to Consider Development Studies

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You can review the agenda here. Specifically, we are interested in Item 4A which will be proposals to study the current economic development policies, the development process and strategic housing initiatives.

The economic development policy examination is probably long overdue. Nearly two decades ago the city developed its current model for economic development incentives. The world has certainly changed a lot in that period, and it is probably a good idea to consider updating our policies to reflect those changes. As an example, entrepreneurship and innovation have become a much greater emphasis in communities like ours than in the past. However, our policies are all geared to larger economic development projects. What are best practices and what are other successful communities doing to be more in line with current trends that we can emulate? It is worth considering.

Also definitely worth considering is how we can improve the community’s development process. Our members are very interested in ways to streamline the city’s development processes to encourage investment in commercial and residential endeavors. This is a persistent issue from most of our businesses from the smallest entrepreneurs to the largest employer. We are excited that the city is considering this endeavor and look forward to hearing more about that process.

In both cases we will be advocating for initiatives that promote entrepreneurship and small business growth, primary job creation and private investment. These are the engines that drive both enhanced quality of life for Manhattan area residents and tax revenues for local governing bodies. We look forward to the discussion.

The last item deals with housing initiatives. Workforce housing became part of the 2023 economic development sales tax at the behest of then City Commissioner Aaron Estabrook. Because our economic development strategy (Region Reimagined) spoke to the development of more workforce housing as important to our long-term economic prosperity, we supported this addition and have since supported other similar initiatives. There are numerous programs at the state and federal level to help support housing that we think can be implemented in Manhattan along with the new sales tax funding. While we aren’t clear on how this strategy will align with previous reports and the recently appointed workforce housing steering committee, we will be interested to learn more.

The meeting begins at 6 p.m. for those that might want to attend or watch online.

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