Updated: Jan 22, 2020
How are we paying for these catalytic economic development projects?
In a resource scarce environment, economic development practitioners and the municipalities they serve are getting creative about funding the initiatives that matter to them. While cities across the country await additional guidance on how to best utilize the Opportunity Zone program, local EDOs such as Chambers of Commerce are setting up their own investment funds to catalyze local investment. In one scenario, a Chamber makes a seed round contribution, asking high net worth individuals and local corporations to match or exceed. Funds are invested and support multi-year initiatives.
A unique model from Fayetteville, AK, where officials sought to support a mixed-use housing and workforce training project for people with special needs, has been funded by a series of LLCs designed in partnership with the developer and the city’s economic development agency. Nationwide, cities and economic development organizations are getting creative to advance their projects, planning in advance and via cross sector partnerships to fill the funding gap.