The following pages review the comprehensive strategies that have been used by the cities of Atlanta, Baltimore and Cleveland to improve their economic conditions. It should become apparent to the reader that the fate of each city is determined by many factors including historical events, the balance of power between stakeholder groups, the ability of the city to capitalize on federal programs and the relationships between the private sector and the community. Unfortunately, no clear winning strategy arose from each city’s economic development efforts; they all caused both gainers and losers.
Atlanta is a city that is led by business leadership whose main priority is to promote business interests that are at times at odds with the communities’ development. Baltimore, with very little private investment, relies heavily on its citizens’ involvement whose collective bargaining and activism have hindered its political leadership’s attempts at growth. Cleveland has fallen victim to “ivory tower” leadership that has led to financial mismanagement and increased community frustration.
I have attempted to review the last decade in each city, and in the context of that city examine the strengths and weaknesses of their actions. The scope of this project is large. To focus the reader’s attention on the difficulty the cities have experienced in trying to meet their stakeholders’ needs and expectations, I have chosen to focus on a few specific actions that were taken in each city to promote economic development. This discussion is by no means exhaustive; additional learnings can be gleamed from further research. Atlanta
Atlanta’s political and social structure and development has been characterized by what author Clarence Stone labels regime politics in his book Regime Politics: Governing Atlanta: 1946-1989. The regime’s determining factor is the loosely formed coalitions and collaborations between the white Atlanta elite and the black middle class leadership. The partnership (although the power was not balanced between the groups equally) has its beginnings in the 1940’s when astute white businessmen properly predicted the growth of a black middle class and a shifting in electoral power.
Faced with two choices: to use their social and economic clout to fight the inevitable changes in political power or adopt more cooperative policies that permitted the growing minority freedom to participate and influence the political and economic process; they chose the former. Sixty years later, Atlanta is still controlled by its business elite; however the complexion of the city and its power structure has changed dramatically. The urban area is predominantly African-American, although Hispanic neighborhoods are beginning to surface.
The mayors of the last few decades have been African-American and there has been a steady growth of African-American businesses. Atlanta’s response has been to increase its efforts to make the city more attractive to businesses in the hopes that the businesses will help Atlanta continue its growth. The following discussion reviews some of the strategic steps taken by Atlanta’s elite to move it into the upper echelon of cosmopolitan cities that are capable of attracting Fortune 500 companies. The Atlanta Project
The Atlanta Project (TAP) was created in 1991 by former United States President Jimmy Carter to facilitate discussion on problems in economic development, housing, education, children/youth, health, arts and the public safety for the half a million Georgia residents that live in Atlanta and the surrounding areas. Although TAP was crafted to be an intermediary from the very beginning (a result of meetings of leaders from Atlanta corporations, academic institutions and non profit organizations); there was a misinterpretation by the very public it wished to serve.
Local residents believed that TAP, as an entity would solve their problems and began to pressure the organization to act on their behalf. As a result, TAP engaged in quick fixes to raise its public image but muddied the water’s on its exact goal and was considered by many to be ineffective. After nine years of lackluster performance, TAP was transferred to the management of Georgia State University (GSU). In the nine years under the Carter Center, TAP was responsible for immunizing 16,000 children and helped 1,100 Atlanta residents find housing and jobs, far short of the success most had imagined for it.
Under GSU’s Neighborhood Collaborative, TAP has shifted its emphasis to partnerships with the University to accomplish its community capacity building, which are in line with the university’s focus on service learning opportunities. In addition TAP provides support services to the Community Empowerment Advisory Board, the resident comprised arm that advises the Atlanta Empowerment Zone Corporation. Empowerment Zone In 1994, Atlanta recognized the dire straits of fifteen percent of its urban residents and applied for designation in the initial round of the federal empowerment zones.
Fifty five percent of its population had incomes under the poverty level with an unemployment rate of 17% and half of its residents in public housing. Thirty neighborhoods in Atlanta over 9. 3 square miles were designated as an urban empowerment zone at the end of 1994. Under the empowerment zone plan, over several years, Atlanta will receive $100 million in grant money and a variety of financing tools, including loan guarantees, tax-exempt bond financing, accelerated property depreciation, and wage tax credits to promote economic growth.
To qualify for designation, it needed to submit a plan on how it would spend the funds allocated for its economic development. As part of the plan, Atlanta envisioned an “urban village” where residents work cooperatively to improve quality and emphasized development that is economically and ecologically sound. Its five point plan included: increasing employment opportunities and attracting new jobs, increasing public safety, reducing poverty and drug use, providing adequate housing and establishing an organization to govern the process.
The Atlanta Empowerment Zone Corporation (AZEC) was formed to oversee the implementation of the strategic plan. Its actions are governed by two boards: the executive board and the advisory board. The executive board is comprised of representatives of public agencies, service providers, the private sector and the community. The advisory board is comprised of representatives from each of the neighborhoods. It is the responsibility of the advisory board to represent the interests of the community to the executive board.
Almost one fifth of the activities planned for the Atlanta Empowerment Zone were linked to economic development. Almost thirty one percent of the funds allocated to the empowerment zone were related to economic development. Atlanta’s single biggest activity that it has funded through the empowerment zone was five million dollars for the Centennial Olympic Park Area Business Park. $4. 5 million has been dedicated to loan portfolios for both home and community businesses as well for businesses to locate into the area. $1 million was dedicated to a technical shop.
The progress of the Empowerment Zone has been spotted with allegations of fraud and mismanagement. Less than three years after the designation, almost all the employees of the AEZC had been fired by Atlanta Mayor Bill Campbell due to findings of mismanagement. A third through the ten year life program (the zones’ designation have been extended recently), the administration had only approved a fraction of programs earmarked to spur economic growth but had spent the entire $4 million budget that was outlined for administrative costs over the ten years.
Adding to the negative feeling surrounding the AZEC has been the HUD’s findings that the agency had used over $1million dollars to assist Atlanta residents that did not live or operate businesses in the empowerment zone area. Finally, some residents feel that the empowerment zone shows a preference towards large corporations at the expense of the small entrepreneur. 1996 Olympics The 1996 Olympics are an example of how public private partnerships worked to improve Atlanta’s competitiveness as a thriving city.
Proponents of the Olympics in Atlanta planned for it to favorably impact Atlanta’s economic environment as well as its public image. To properly plan for the resulting economic development, the city’s Olympic Committee joined forces with the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce to launch Operation Legacy. The project, which began in 1993 and was composed of players from the state’s and city’s chamber of commerces and the state economic development agency, had help from the private sector in attracting new businesses to the era.
The goal of Operation Legacy was to create 6,000 jobs by 1998. The non-profit organization, the Corporation for Olympic Development in Atlanta (CODA), was formed by the city and the private sector to organize its neighborhood revitalization efforts. It efforts were centered on sixteen neighborhoods that surrounded the area where the Olympics took place which were pockets of poverty and majority African American. (79% of the residents had annual incomes less than $20,000) On one hand the results have been positive.
Phillips and Porsche have located to Atlanta and surveys before and after the Olympics have indicated that perception of Atlanta by business people located outside of Atlanta had been positively impacted. In preparation for the Olympics, other long term projects also took place: expansion of Hartsfield Airport, improvements GSU campus, extension of the transit rail system, redevelopment of the Techwood housing projects, facial rehabilitation of Woodruff Arts Center, the restoration of Piedmont Park and various roads projects.
After the Olympics, the city found uses for the Olympic landmarks: the Olympic stadium is now called Turner Stadium and became the home of the Atlanta Braves in 1997, the Olympic Village where the Olympic athletes resided during the 1996 Olympics now houses students at Georgia Technical University and GSU and Centennial Olympic Park will remain as a commemorative park. What was even more impressive about the changes made in Atlanta was the financial commitment of the private sector.
Although Atlantans supported a $150 million bond referendum for improvements in Atlanta’s infrastructure, the vast majority of the Olympic developments were privately funded and the games were supported by the fees for television rights, corporate sponsorships and ticket sales. However, critics say that Atlanta failed to meet many of its goals related to employment and neighborhood revitalization. Most of the renovation centered around the universities which is located in the midtown area which had already been experiencing a rebirth with rising housing prices and an influx of young professionals.
Critics believe that attributing the development of the midtown area to the Olympics is overstating the value it actually is responsible for creating. In addition, compared to the Olympic developments that were being funded by the private sector, CODA had very little resources to actually fund its plans. As such, they encountered many of the same obstacles faced by most community development corporations nationwide: lack of coordination with city agencies, lack of resources to carry out plans and impatient residents who desperately needed on the creation of new affordable housing.
The two projects that were completed, Techwood Homes and Grenlea Commons, were wrought with controversy as the low-income housing was replaced with mixed income, displacing a number of the residents. The goal of making a twenty-four hour downtown was not been met save for nine blocks that have been made into safe, pedestrian blocks. Smart Growth Initiatives Smart growth initiatives have surged forth as low population density, traffic congestion, pollution and doubling populations in the suburbs are beginning to limit economic development.
Hindering the movement has been residents’ reluctance to change their lifestyles and their contempt for public transportation as well as outlying counties reliance on tax revenue from suburban developments. Prior to 1996, there was little in the way of government regulations to prohibit sprawl and organize growth. Several authorities have formed as the city and county officials struggle to deal with the problems that stretch across ten counties. Clean Air Campaign is a consortium of businesses, government agencies and environment groups that is trying to break long standing regional habits.
Georgia Regional Transportation Authority (GRETA) was created in 1999 by state legislators to control growth and transportation. It has the power to build or veto the roads and transit systems over counties’ wishes and the right to issue permits for large, new developments. Businesses are also taking an active role fearing the passing of more restrictive legislation and negative impact on Atlanta’s image as well as the growing congestion and pollution.
Some of Atlanta’s largest corporations have plans to consolidate offices and centralize their operations in Atlanta to keep employees from having to commute to work. Real estate developers have launched new urbanism projects that center housing around offices and retail shops that encourage residents to walk to work and for their shopping and entertainment. Perhaps even more importantly, smart growth has put more fire in the redevelopment of downtown and urban Atlanta. In 1999, Turner Broadcasting opened the Phillips Arena opting to build downtown over the suburbs.
The Future of Atlanta Recently, Michael Porter produced a cluster review on Atlanta that reported it has spent too much of its energy on increasing jobs and its population when its interests would be better served by putting its efforts in increasing the income level of its residents. Most neighborhood groups would agree. While Atlanta’s elite has done an excellent job of improving Atlanta’s image and attracting new companies; it has neglected a portion of its citizens that are barely surviving below the poverty level.
Unfortunately, with the flight of white and black middle class residents to the outlying counties that comprise the metro Atlanta area, there has been a dearth of capital invested in some of its most historic neighborhoods. The recent corporate headquarter relocations have done little to employ the Atlanta citizens who have little formal education or professional job skills. The housing rehabilitation that resulted from the 1996 Summer Olympics gentrified and displaced many of the long time residents. The mismanagement of the AEZC reinforced the perception that Atlanta favors corporate interests over local.
The failure of TAP can be attributed to pressure from area residents’ to hold someone responsible for the disparity between the suburban have’s and the urban have not’s. It is plausible that Atlanta can continue on its path of economic development without the inclusion of its poorest neighborhoods. Community development corporations started appearing in Atlanta in the 1970’s and continue to struggle to get their voice heard among the inner circle of business elite where the direction of Atlanta is being decided.
Without increasing Smart Growth initiatives, Atlanta can continue to grow at its circumference and allow its residents to commute to work, leaving their wealth outside the urban area. An inadequate rapid transportation system leaves inner city residents powerless to capture any of the growth Atlanta has experienced. Without the support of the business elite, there seems little that these neighborhoods can do to ensure their survival. Baltimore Baltimore city suffered in the mid 1900’s as manufacturing jobs were lost to oversee operations.
Serving as one of America’s ports, Baltimore relied heavily on the shipping and manufacturing industries that have seen a decline over the past century. Further inhibiting Baltimore’s growth was the exodus of its working middle class to the suburban areas outside of Baltimore’s city limits. The movement was partly prompted by the availability of new housing developments outside Baltimore and the growing racist fear of the Black population that had settled in Baltimore’s inner city.
Over the last thirty years, Baltimore has strived to develop comprehensive strategies that include all its stakeholders and is responsive to all its constituents on issues such as public safety, education, housing and employment. Baltimore has been very active in using the resources from the city, the state, the private sector and the local community for its urban renewal, which has focused on revitalizing its downtown area and other neighborhoods throughout the city. The discussion that follows reviews the actions taken by Baltimore political leadership and the responses of its stakeholders.
Empowerment Zone The goal of the Baltimore’s strategic plan for spending the funds designated through the federal Empowerment Zone is neighborhood empowerment to solve the problems of unemployment and poor quality of life for its residents. Baltimore outlined its strategy into eight components: create village centers that push technology into the community, community development (including land use plans), public safety, housing, health and family development, education, training and literacy, attracting and developing new businesses and establishing an organization to govern the process.
Like Atlanta, under the empowerment zone plan, Baltimore will receive $100 million in grant money and a variety of financing tools, including loan guarantees, tax-exempt bond financing, accelerated property depreciation, and wage tax credits over several years. The Empower Baltimore Management Corporation (EBMC) is the non-profit organization formed to oversee the implementation of the plan. Its actions are governed by an executive board that is comprised of community leaders, city agency heads, and representatives of the business community, foundations and universities.
Six village centers have been created as affiliated non-profit organizations to aid in implementation of the EBMC’s plans. The 6. 8 miles covered by the empowerment zone is not contiguous. The residents of the Empowerment Zone represent 10% of the overall city population and at the time of the designation were facing a 41% poverty rate and a 15% unemployment rate. Eighteen percent of the residents lived in public housing. The three areas covered under the Empowerment Zone are the University of Maryland in west Baltimore, the John Hopkins area in east Baltimore and the Fairfield Community in south Baltimore.
Almost have of the activities planned or ongoing in the Baltimore Empowerment Zone are linked to economic development. Almost 67% of the funds allocated to the fund are set to be spent on activities related to economic development. One of the developments that have arisen from the Empowerment Zone is the establishment of Community Development Ventures, which provides senior subordinated debt and equity to businesses in the Empowerment Zone to grow current business or as start up capital. In addition, it offers technical assistance to the areas’ businesses and youth outreach to promote young entrepreneurism.
A form of community development venture capitalism, it has a $8 million asset portfolio of eight businesses in which it has invested funds from The Ford Foundation, Prudential Insurance Company, and Empower Baltimore Management Corporation and the CDFI Fund. The zone also sponsors a housing venture fund that provides up to $5,000 for low-income people to purchase homes to increase homeownership. Despite the zone’s efforts, critics charged that the administration has moved slowly in launching projects and financing to promote economic development.
Questions have been raised as to whether the inroads the zone has made is enough to turn the tide. Reaction to Empowerment Zones in general have been mixed and many experts, politicians, and community leaders are unsure that the zones will produce the results that the cities outline in the plan. Complicating Baltimore’s empowerment process has been the significant number of players involved and the mismatch between short-term expectations and the length of time needed to exact results.
Critics of the zone believe that the incentives and programs do little to create the full employment with the high waged jobs that are needed to move the areas out of poverty. In addition, many feel that the empowerment zones are facing an uphill battle as welfare reforms have placed more residents in need of their services. Finally, it is unclear how much of the empowerment zones’ successes have been due to good economic times or the empowerment zones’ financial packages and training opportunities.
Baltimore Development Authority The Baltimore Development Authority is a non-profit organization leads the city’s economic development initiatives. Though a separate entity from the city, it receives 75% of its funding from the state and shares close affiliation with the city’s officials. In the last year, it has launched requests for proposals for the area surrounding Pennsylvania Station and the Inner Harbor. Both sites have historic value and serve as attractions for tourism and business guests.
It is looking at the plans for creative solutions to problems of poor street lighting, space usage and parking as well as the attraction of different types of retail and industrial businesses. The Baltimore Development Agency has come under fire for not being open to the public. Local residents view it as a city agency despite its non profit status and believe that their meetings with business interests should be open to the public, particularly since the authority has the right to agree to tax exemptions for large projects which deprive the neighborhoods of income.
Armed with a distrust of the local government and fearing that the business owners will not represent their interests, they are lobbying the city to make the authority more accessible to the public. Digital Harbor In November of 2000, the mayor of Baltimore announced a plan to build a technology center along the harbor that would attract new business, increase employment by 50,000 and increase the city’s tax revenue by $71 million in five years. The $300 million plan calls for investment in the roads, parks, neighborhood revitalization and rehabilitation construction along the harbor.
A year later, the state awarded Baltimore a fraction of its request, $18 million, for the road construction, citing it needed to see more evidence that the project would work before committing to the plan. Providing the proof has been an uphill battle. The Digital Harbor would compete against well-established technology centers in an economy where many technology companies are near insolvency. In addition, Baltimore will have to contend with its image of a city plagued with a poor education system and high crime.
The mayor is betting on the city’s low office property rates attracting the businesses. The Future of Baltimore In its attempt to be inclusive, Baltimore has hindered its own growth. Unlike Atlanta, Baltimore generally attempts to include the local citizen in its economic development plans and believes that growth will come from small businesses on the community level as well as large corporate presence. The influence of active neighborhood organizations, county and state governments have stymied the mayor’s and his agencies ability to pursue all their economic projects at full strength. Baltimore is walking a slow path to economic recovery. Long approval processes and lack of private sector financial investment and hindered its ability to prove its economic viability and provide for its poorest citizens. Cleveland The history of Cleveland is spotted with race riots, ineffective government leadership and mismatched agendas in the business and public sector. The descent of Cleveland reached to bottom when in 1978 it went into default on its financial obligations.
Fearing that the current mayoral office would not be able to pull the city out of its predicament and the ramifications that its demise would have on their businesses, business leaders sought a candidate that had experience with economic development and would represent their interests. In 1979, George Voinovich was elected and an era of public-private partnerships was launched. One of his first activities in office was to launch an audit of Cleveland’s city agencies. The cost of preparation and implementation of the audit was paid for by the business community.
During this same period, several organizations important to the growth of Cleveland were also developed to foster collaborations among and between the private, government and community groups. Cleveland Tomorrow, formed from a McKinsey & Company study in 1980, is a group of CEOs from Cleveland’s largest businesses that meet to discuss and develop a focused agenda for action to improve Cleveland. Leadership Council was a leadership enrichment organization that brought the leaders from private, public and government sectors together to solve problems.
The Greater Cleveland Roundtable was patterned after a similar organization in Detroit and sought to promote understanding and harmony among the diverse racial and ethnic groups in Cleveland, a chief objective given Cleveland’s past racial incidences. The greatest leader in present day Cleveland economic development is still Cleveland Tomorrow. With 55 members from the areas corporations, the group focuses on strategic issues that affect Cleveland’s competitiveness and economic environment.
A large portion of their efforts has been to create networks of affiliates that promote industry clusters particularly in the area of biotechnology. The city is now headquarters to 112 corporations with revenues of $250 million or more; twelve are Fortune 500 companies collectively generating $54. 7 billion in revenues. Gateway Development Corporation: Gateway Arena sports complex The use of stadium as economic development tools has been widely used by cities across the country. Attempts to raise the profile of its city and develop its downtown areas. Cleveland embarked on a stadium project to house its baseball and basketball teams.
The project was led by the Gateway Development Corporation, a non-profit organization that created the development plan that included restaurant, retail and office outlets as well as additional entertainment facilities. However almost ten years later, the stadium that was to produce economic prosperity for the downtown area has not lived up to its promise. The cost of the stadium and related projects has topped $750 million and required an additional $3 billion to be spent in public funds to improve the housing and infrastructure of the surrounding areas.
It was this economic cost that Cleveland officials thought would be borne by the private sector investments in the area that have yet to be realized. Residents were given hopes of 16,000 jobs, office, retail and hotel projects to surround the complex estimated at $1 billion in private investment. In light of the stadium’s social mission, residents agreed to an excise tax on alcohol and tobacco to help pay for the complex in addition to the multimillion-dollar tax exempt bonds the developer had already received to build the stadium.
In addition, when the developer had cash flow problems due to cost overruns and ineffective pricing contracts, Cuyahoga County floated a $45 million bond to cover the shortfall in order for the developer to meet its deadlines and avoid high penalties. Many reasons have arisen for the lack of development: a soft economy, climbing land prices and acquisition costs, inadequate surrounding housing and an over saturated office space market. Some people even fault the city for spending so much money in physical rehabilitation of the surrounding blocks when money was needed for long term economic development planning.
The money Cuyahoga County has had to pay for secured bond issues that were made to Gateway, which has been unable to pay, which has diminished needed funds from economic development. Empowerment Zone Cleveland was designated as a supplemental enterprise zone. Cleveland is to receive $90 million in federal money and an additional $87 million in low interest loans through HUD. Similar to Baltimore, Cleveland diagrammed its strategic plan on neighborhood empowerment with the use of four CDCs to represent the area covered by the enterprise zone and resident boards to provide input from the local communities that covers almost 52,000 residents.
The concerned area includes three East Side residential neighborhoods (Fairfax, Glenville, Hough) and the Midtown Corridor commercial district downtown. Its goal was to provide jobs for 10,000 residents and to provide incentives that would inspire private investment. The success of Cleveland’s empowerment zone completely depends on perspective. Business owners have benefited from the CDCs, which each receive $350,000 annually to assist business owners in navigating the enterprise zone allocation system. The big winner has been the midtown Cleveland area, which has received almost half of the $80 million, expended by the empowerment zone.
The money, which has largely gone to encourage businesses to either relocate to the area or stay in the area, has been in the form of loans and grants. Small businesses have received a much smaller portion. The zone board claims that due to strict guidelines of the zone many of them do not qualify for assistance. In response, the zone established the Empowerment Zone Business Opportunity Program that provides technical assistance so the smaller firms can qualify for the loans. As of 2001, 14 firms have received loans through the program. Residents do not view the progress as favorable.
The local boards were disbanded because city officials felt their roles were duplicative. Housing rehabilitation is gentrifying neighborhoods, as existing low-income residents are unable to afford the prices of the new dwellings. Case in point: the empowerment zone put $2 million together in an incentive package for the development of a housing development of eighty homes to ease the housing crunch. However, the price of the homes are over three times what the local residents can afford; the homes have offering prices between $159,000 and $273,000.
The city’s argument that these homes are to keep residents from fleeing the city to the suburbs once their wages increases has done little to the current residents’ frustration with the empowerment zone’s inability to address their needs. The city has produced less than 500 new units of housing thus far. As far as employment is concerned, the One Stop Career Center was established as a clearinghouse for private and public job training and placement services but has been virtually shut down because of fraud and mismanagement.
As a result, only 2,200 residents have been trained. The 1,100 residents that have placed through the empowerment zone are from neighborhoods that have unemployment rates reaching 20% and poverty rates at 40%. Citizens even criticize Job Match, the empowerment zone’s more successful employment matching and screening service for its lack of outreach, responsiveness and publicity. Managers of the program cite lack of funds for publicity and the disqualifications of residents who failed to show up for drug and alcohol screening. Cleveland Campaign
In 1978, while business, civic and political leaders were focused on the city’s financial problems, the publisher of the Plain Dealer, Thomas Vail founded the New Cleveland Campaign with a $1 million to promote the improved image of Cleveland nationwide. The Campaign, which spent the majority of its energies advertising and attempting to get favorable press coverage for Cleveland, believed that the competitiveness of the city is partly determined by its ability to attract private investment and tourists from outside the state.
In 1998, the New Cleveland Campaign changed its name to Cleveland Today and switched its focus to touting the “future of Cleveland” and doubled its efforts in promoting the city’s clusters of biotech, biomedical, polymer and computer software. Despite the great changes that have taken place in improving the city’s infrastructure and the building of the stadium and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Cleveland Today reports that many people outside Ohio still have a negative image of Cleveland as a blue collar town with poor education and transportations systems, explosive race relations and inclement weather.
The truth may not be that far from their perception, Cleveland has the second largest number of manufacturing jobs in the state of Ohio. However, reluctant private investment might be in relocating to Cleveland, the Convention & Visitors Bureau of Greater Cleveland reports that tourism increased by 57% from 1995-2000 generating over $2 billion in revenue and $150 million in taxes to the area. Tourism also accounts for 55,000 jobs in the tourism industry. Other Investments in Redevelopment Private investments have fared better than public investments.
Besides the stadium fiasco, many of planned projects for Cleveland have been drastically scaled back as officials struggle to find ways to finance the projects without increasing taxes. Cleveland Tomorrow, on the other hand, has successfully launched three community development investments funds to help Cleveland finance its projects. The “patient capital” is responsible for contributing to a variety of projects since 1994 including $20 million to the stadium project and $9 million in downtown housing and funds for local theaters.
The majority of the funds are provided for by local corporate investors and foundations in exchange for rates of return similar to the10 year US Treasury Bill rate. The latest fund, the $12. 5 million Cleveland Civic Vision Housing fund, is dedicated to residential housing building of 1,000 units in the downtown and city neighborhoods and small projects. The hope is that the fund, which offers a more flexible schedule than local banks, will help developers finance projects that will encourage residents to move into the urban areas. Due to the timeline of the projects, its success is still undetermined.
Cleveland Tomorrow is also responsible for launching Civic Vision 2000, a planning document for future development. Goals of the initiative include attracting retail stores to the lakefront area, investing in the transportation system, building new convention center and increasing residential housing. The plan has not been without controversy as critics claim that the plan has not had public input. However, the plan has been adopted by the area’s planning commission and many of the projects have been planned for using both private and public investments. The Future of Cleveland
The story of Cleveland’s economic development has been mismanagement and disappointing results. Its fourteen-year attempt at improving its image through the Cleveland Campaign has proven to be unsuccessful. Corporations are reluctant to move to Cleveland due to their perception of it as a second rate city despite its investments to improve the quality of life of its citizens. The leadership of Cleveland Tomorrow is responsible for turning Cleveland around but has been unable to provide its citizens with opportunities to gain or create wealth within their communities.