The numbers don’t lie, it’s been a momentous year for Community Development. We’ve handled a tremendous workload and have reduced our staffing at the same time. The success in doing this comes not just from the hard work of the staff but also because our partners – our contractors, property owners and businesses – have worked with us to accomplish our overarching goal of ensuring the safety of our buildings. When people think of great cities, they typically think first of the physical infrastructure, buildings, landmarks, parks and homes. All of these give a community its sense of place.
In 2018 we rolled out the 353 Tax Program to encourage reinvestment in property in and around the historic downtown. By yearend, three businesses had received approval for their Redevelopment Projects and eight more have made application for the program. With just three projects complete, we’ve seen nearly $1,000,000 in investment into buildings and the businesses within those buildings. Interest in the area has also increased with more inquiries into development opportunities within the area. The program is available to both commercial and residential properties.
We see signs of progress throughout our community. We’ve seen more than $15,000,000 in new investment in either expansions, improvement or new commercial buildings in the community. Our single-family home growth continues to be maintained through the free permit program that was in place in 2018.
Our focus on greater customer service included design changes to the Community Development office area and increased accessibility to City forms and records online. Building permits can now be completed on the City’s website and City staff can access archived plans and files digitally. All these steps contribute to more efficient and timely service to our customers.
We realize we make progress by working together. In the coming months, our staff will be sending out surveys to contractors to ask for help in identifying ways we can improve. Are we perfect? Not by a long shot. But we are committed to problem-solving within the scope of our abilities to move forward and become recognized as innovative problem solvers.
This Annual Report is a glimpse into the work we do in community development. What you don’t see is all of the “behind the scenes” work to clean up properties, finish new projects or plan for what comes next. We hope this gives you an idea of the work we are doing to ensure our community has safe buildings and homes and new investment in the community.