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Building a sustainable economic development community

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By Building a sustainable Economic Development Community, fills a critical gap in a region or local area where private developers find too risky.

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Take for example, As I work with brokers to help me to find a commercial space to build The Kitchen Hub, there is a backlash with the Economic Development offices, the city planning (permit departments) and the brokers who represent owners and their buildings.

The Kitchen Hub has been categorized as Food Manufacturing if I want to add a retail component to it then it’s another zoning issue. For example in Gilroy, there is a building owner who would love to have a commercial kitchen in their space. I’ve run into a few obstacles.
1. The space on the ground floor – (2 story building) is only 3,000 sq ft.
2. Will need to add an elevator to the second floor for disabled people to move food upstairs for classes and pop-up dinners.
3. Economic Development office says, that restaurant (downtown) is not permitted for manufacturing
4. According to the owner, the city would consider a re-zoning permit, there is a catch – buy the building as the owner doesn’t want to pay for the re-zoning permit.
5. Economic Development office – say, “They only really want companies who will bring in 200+ employees to their city.” (according to their development plan).
6. My challenge is if we build out there is their enough support from the community and food entrepreneurs to be there? Doesn’t appear to be.

This brings me to the idea of developing a EDC group.

According to the NACEDA “Community development is proven as the best way to leverage scarce public and private dollars to achieve maximum impact on the lives of residents in low-income urban neighborhoods. In the process, it lessens social and economic disparities and creates vital new markets for the region’s economy.”

Food is big business and localizing the food system can have major community wealth building benefits. For example, a 2010 study of the 16-county Northeast Ohio (NEO) region found that shifting 25 percent of agriculture to local production could create 27,664 new jobs, providing work for about one in eight unemployed residents, generating $4.2 billion in economic activity and $126 million in state and local taxes, while increasing food security, improving public health, and lowering the region’s carbon footprint.

Food 4 Social Change has a big vision The Kitchen Hub is the center of the vision, while there is plenty of room to add services for the disadvantaged, like housing, job skills training in the kitchen, arts organizations that educate and anything else that is important in a community to have. Each person in a community is more effective by working together to make a community or communities bold and vibrant.

Community development serves the aspirations that all people share: to have a safe, appealing, and successful place to lead their lives, raise a family, conduct their business, know the people around them, participate in the civic and cultural life of their communities.

In order to get this all going who wants to join as a volunteer? What would it take for you to get involved?

Think about these questions:
• What do you want to have happen?

• Who can take that action?

• What story do you need to hear to take that action?

• How can we deliver the message to you?

What’s important to you?

If you are interested in joining me, please fill out this form. Tell me where you are located, what would you be willing to do. Please leave your phone number as well.

[contact-form] [contact-field label=”Name” type=”name” required=”true” /] [contact-field label=”Email” type=”email” required=”true” /] [contact-field label=”Website” type=”url” /] [contact-field label=”Comment” type=”textarea” required=”true” /] [/contact-form]
Mari-Lyn Harris

Read more about this concept and the back up there is.
Federal Reserve Bank

Local Initiatives Support

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