Mayor Sly James today proposed a resolution that would direct the city’s portion of payments in lieu of taxes on economic development projects to a new fund specifically designed to benefit areas of the city determined to be severely distressed, based on federal designation criteria.
Dubbed the Shared Success Fund, James said the objective is to direct the city’s continuing momentum and success of economic development to portions of the city that currently are not attracting enough development.
“In its simplest form, the fund is designed to share the economic development success of some parts of our city with all parts of our city,” James told the City Council’s Planning, Zoning and Economic Development Committee.
Under the resolution, the City’s revenue from participating economic development projects would be put in the Shared Success Fund and an advisory committee would be established to recommend eligible projects to Council.
Initial criteria under review include a preference to provide Shared Success Fund money to projects that are commercial developments, involve capital investment in commercial real estate, generate high quality jobs, leverage other public/private investment and have a long-term impact.
Under the proposal, projects will not be eligible for the Shared Success Fund if they qualify for Public Improvement Advisory Committee funds; if they are in business for the sale of package liquor, firearms or scrap metal, or if they are considered pawn shops, payday loan establishments, cigarette or smoke shops, tattoo/piercing parlors or adult-oriented businesses.
“The Shared Success Fun is a new way to help provide gap funding to get qualifying projects going,” James said. “This fund isn’t something that will be able to transform an entire neighborhood by next week, rather the fund will build up over time. But we must start now so that we can add another tool to the city’s toolbox for developing all areas of our city, not just the areas where development comes easily.”
Pedro Zamora, executive director of the Hispanic Economic Development Corp., which serves the city’s West Side, spoke in favor of the resolution, saying access to capital for community development corporations (CDCs) is progressing slowly and faces several challenges.
“Unless a CDC successfully meets these capital challenges, it will continue to have a difficult time fulfilling the promise of an outcome-oriented, inclusive and integrated approach to creating systemic change in low-income communities in Kansas City,” Zamora said.
“With the Shared Success Fund, we can attract the private capital investments and scarce city tax incentives and subsidies necessary to fund these community-based initiatives beyond real estate investments to investment that promote human capital development. This fund can enhance social return while generating financial returns,” he added.
Joe Hudson, Political Director for the St. Louis-Kansas City Carpenters Regional Council, also express enthusiasm for the proposal.
“I’m excited about the opportunity the Shared Success Fund presents to put more people from underemployed areas of the City to work,” Hudson said. “Our union clearly derives an indirect benefit through the investment of economic development dollars in local construction projects.”
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Note to editors and reporters: The Shared Success Fund resolution will be formally introduced during the City Council Legislative Session on Thursday, Feb. 18. The resolution and the schedule for review can be found at http://cityclerk.kcmo.org/