Sunday, May 24, 2009

On Real Economic Development for the 21st Century

I have published this post as well on my mayoral candidate blog. Working together with the city council, we can make my long-term vision for a stronger, healthier Plainfield community a reality. It can only be done through partnership with you, my fellow residents of Plainfield. Today, I will focus on economic development in the 21st Century.

I will create a plan for economic development that is not developer driven, and for the first time in this city’s history I will develop and implement an aggressive marketing plan using the mass media to enhance Plainfield’s image, making it more desirable to targeted investors who will want to make Plainfield a business destination.

But I will not focus solely on attracting new businesses; I want to retain the ones that are already here. I want to give them a reason to stay and to expand. So, I am proposing the creation of a Commercial Tax Abatement Program that will not alter the underlying assessment, yet will provide a very attractive incentive over a five-year period to encourage existing businesses to expand, thus creating jobs and expanding the city’s commercial tax base to enhance its tax revenues.

Transit Village Initiative
I strongly believe that the Transit Village initiative can be the lynchpin for downtown revitalization and consequently the revitalization of Plainfield. The Transit Village will allow us to increase the density of housing and businesses in areas already well-served by public transportation.

Couple this with a long-term initiative to encourage artists, crafts people, and small businesses to make use of the under-utilized loft-type structures already existing within the proximity of Plainfield’s downtown transit zone, and we have the makings of a critical mass of self-sustaining activities and development that will restore vitality to Plainfield’s downtown while at the same time providing the city with an ever-increasing tax base of new ratables.

I will initiate a new study of all Brownfield structures within the city, using grant funds, and establish a plan that rehabilitates and converts all of the Brownfield structures, mainly concentrated in the 4th Ward, into retail shopping outlets. I recognize that these are very challenging fiscal times for all municipalities, but I also believe that we as a community can and must take every step necessary to position Plainfield for success when the nation comes out of this difficult time.

The city should not, and I will not, place all of our eggs in one development basket. As a city, we must broaden our approach and our outreach. This I plan to do. I will focus as much of the city’s resources to rebuilding, improving and enhancing our infrastructure—our roads, IT network, and aging buildings, and I will aggressively seek and demand funding from the County, State and Federal governments to assist us in this effort.

Information Technology
Moving forward, I will work to modernize Information Technology (IT); it must be brought into the 21st century, it has to be made more efficient and citizen friendly. By automating the city records and putting them on-line, using wireless, the Web and GPS, we can make doing the city’s business, easier, faster, and less expensive for citizens, businesses and employees.

By embracing renewables, Plainfield will be able to significantly reduce its carbon footprint. My colleague Cory Storch has long been an advocate for hybrid vehicles. Well, Cory, I’ve got a plan for you. My plan, where feasible, will be to migrate the city’s fleet of vehicles to hybrid gas and electric, all electric and biodiesel; install solar panels on city buildings; encourage citizens through the use of targeted initiatives to embrace renewables, thus reducing their carbon footprint. We can partner with the school system to make sure our kids learn the technology that will enable them to take advantage of the new jobs created in the renewable industry. This is a serious commitment, one that will ultimately drive down costs and result in more citizens embracing their environmental stewardship.



No comments: