Economic Development

Overview

Economic Development

Article Local Works By Matthew Tate

Four steps to beef up your rural retail development strategy

Retail development is a critical part of creating communities where people can grow and prosper. However, rural markets are often overlooked during initial retail expansion plans. The rural communities of Blythe, Clearlake, and Fortuna have each invested in proactive retail attraction strategies that raise their profile, creating tangible, positive results in the process.

Article Local Works By Karina Gonzalez

Building housing and trust: Santa Ana turns neglected neighborhood center into a vibrant community hub

Located in the heart of Santa Ana’s La Artesia Pilar neighborhood is La Placita Cinco — an innovative and community-oriented urban hub. The city and developers worked closely with the community to transform the once-neglected neighborhood center, while keeping residents’ priorities top of mind.

Article Executive Director's Message By League of California Cities Executive Director and CEO Carolyn Coleman

Outside the box approaches to economic development are fueling local economies and revitalizing communities

There’s no denying that global events, many spurred by the pandemic, have had a significant impact on California cities over the past couple of years. As city leaders focus on retooling their local economies for today’s new market realities, the need for robust, effective economic development tools is readily apparent.

Article Legal Notes By Rick Jarvis

Your city’s development fee account could be vulnerable to multimillion-dollar refund claims

New development projects increase demand on existing public infrastructure. To fund improvements, cities often impose development impact fees, which are governed by the Mitigation Fee Act. Recently, courts have interpreted this law in a more rigid manner, suggesting that any fees held unspent for more than five years must be refunded.

Article California Cities Helen Putnam Award for Excellence By Jennifer Schoeneck

Escondido’s K-rail murals save businesses, boost community spirits, and lead to permanent outdoor dining

In the early months of the pandemic, Escondido’s bustling, historic downtown turned into a ghost town overnight. The city responded with a creative, collaborative, community-driven program that stimulated the local economy and celebrated the beauty and resilience of Escondido.

Article Features By Caroline Beteta

Cities, regions, tourism agencies collaborate to accelerate the state’s uneven tourism recovery

Tourism is spurring the recovery of lost jobs and revenue in many cities, particularly rural ones. However, those gains have not been felt equally, especially in large, urban communities. It is crucial that cities and other tourism stakeholders, regardless of their recovery level, have plans in place to help them navigate future uncertainties.

Article Local Works By Karina Gonzalez

From rice mills to infill, West Sacramento transforms city’s waterfront into a model of mixed-use

A project decades in the making, West Sacramento has turned what was once a nearly century-old industrial district into a growing and thriving mixed-use community where people can live, work, and play. To make the city’s vision a reality, it helped create a new financing tool.

Article Features By Brian Lee-Mounger Hendershot

Transformative and desperately needed: The American Rescue Plan Act one year later

In March 2021, cities across the nation breathed a sigh of relief as an economic package that included $65 billion for municipalities finally made its way through Congress and was signed into law. The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) provided badly needed direct and flexible funds to cash-strapped cities on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic since March 2020.

Article Solutions for Cities By Gail Beal

Solving tomorrow’s budget challenges now

Municipal budgets in California are experiencing significant new stressors. As cities and counties work to provide equitable access to public programs, address the growing homelessness crisis, and deal with the many other challenges facing their communities, public agencies are again forced to spread limited budget dollars across more programs.  

Aerial view of the city of Arcata, one of the 10 cities to participate in the 18-month BOOST Pilot Program designed to help California local governments advance climate and equity goals.
Article News from the Institute for the Local Government by Karalee Browne

BOOSTing economic development and equity in California communities

The Institute for Local Government (ILG) launched a pilot program called BOOST, in partnership with the Strategic Growth Council, to help under-resourced communities build capacity to advance their climate, equity, and economic development goals. Through this program, ILG worked with 10 cities and two regions to develop projects and programs that promote more equitable, just, and economically-thriving communities. 

The Rylan Project, a five-story mixed use residential and commercial space, located in the downtown region of the city of Vista.
Article President’s Message By League of California Cities President and El Centro Mayor Cheryl Viegas Walker

Unprecedented opportunities emerge for cities in a post-pandemic world

As COVID-19 positivity rates continue to decline and vaccination rates increase, California city leaders are shifting from around-the-clock pandemic response to developing plans for long-term economic recovery. The resurgence of local economies is key to our nation’s recovery from a devastating yearlong pandemic, and as city officials map out equitable recovery efforts in their communities, inclusive economic development strategies must be a core component of these long-term plans. 

A key path to growing local revenue and sustaining local economies is investing in economic development to ensure that businesses are successful.
Article Features By Gurbax Sahota

The pandemic crushed local economies; recovery depends on how cities navigate emerging economic development opportunities

While communities across California and the country excitedly await the disbursement of badly needed relief funds from the American Rescue Plan Act and potential assistance from the president’s American Jobs Plan, one question is being asked over and over again — how do we make the most of these precious one-time investments?

Soon, California cities will be faced with redistricting requirements to align voting districts with 2020 Census data.
Article Solutions for Cities By Scott C. Smith

Making 2021 holiday travel plans? Check COVID-19 restrictions and the California Elections Code 

California city officials may want to take a close look at their 2021 travel and holiday plans. In addition to personal check lists — COVID-19 vaccinations and tests, pet sitters, and passport renewals — you’ll need to reserve plenty of time this fall and winter for the monumental redistricting effort which will be required to align voting districts with 2020 Census data.  

The city of Glendale has a reputation as a regional tech center, with a diverse local tech economy, a highly-educated workforce, and many attributes needed to attract tech startups and employees.

City of Glendale kick starts local technology and innovation ecosystem

The city of Glendale’s efforts to grow the tech industry including the creation of “knowledge sharing” or places where local talent could go to innovate, inspire, and meet one another, inspired the creation of its Glendale Ecosystem for Tech Startups initiative. This helped focus on attracting new businesses including high-end co-working space operators; developing a strategy to offer more mentorship, business development, and investment opportunities to local startups; and helping tech companies expand. 

Big Bear Lake Director of Planning and Inspections Sue O'Strander, Vista Director of Economic Development Kevin Ham, Corona  Economic Development Director Jessica M. Gonzales, Long Beach Director of Economic Development, John Keisler
Article Features By Jill Oviatt

Local economies were decimated by the pandemic. Now California cities are rolling out their blueprints for recovery

Western City magazine invited California cities of different sizes and different economies to share their top priorities for economic development as they recover from the impacts of the pandemic. As California reopens for business, municipal economic development offices are busy analyzing strategies to best position their communities to not only survive – but thrive – as resilient, inclusive, and vibrant places to live. Regardless of size and geography, these cities had a number of priorities in common.

San Diego Central Library Hosts Portrait of Pomeroy Art Exhibit showcasing paintings and drawings by San Diego artists of the 1950s and 1960s.
Article Local Works By Jonathan Glus

An economic engine: San Diego works to support its local creative industry during the pandemic and beyond

Six months into the pandemic, it was clear that San Diego’s creative industry was suffering. By September 2020, 14,500 local artists, photographers, dancers, filmmakers, graphic designers, architects, and computer programmers had lost their jobs. The city of San Diego knew it had to act quickly and purchased visual art by area artists to get badly-needed funds to working artists. 

City of Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg delivers speech about #ALLINSAC effort.
Article Local Works by Lisa Yarbrough

Sacramento’s Measure U helps maintain critical services and advance equity during pandemic

The City of Sacramento is one of many California cities to put a general sales tax measure on the  ballot to bring in much-needed revenue for local projects. Voter approval to renew or raise local sales tax has given some cities a sustained source of revenue to maintain critical services, invest in local infrastructure, and create additional amenities for the community.

Article Local Works

Affordable Housing: More Than a Mandate in San Marcos
How San Marcos Leveraged Affordable Housing for Smart Growth

In an area that lacked basic infrastructure, two mixed-use affordable housing developments brought improvements including new streets, drainage, and lighting. A complex mix of federal, state, and city funding, matched with private-sector loans, covered the costs.

Napa Lighted Art Festival Draws January Crowds

The Napa Lighted Art Festival takes a bold, contemporary approach to the visual arts by bringing emerging light technologies into the city’s streets, where buildings function as large outdoor canvases and attract crowds.

Article Features by Gurbax Sahota

Build Economic Development Momentum With Tools, Teams, and Tactics

In most cities, economic development competes for resources and attention as local officials deal with urgent issues that include affordable housing, emergency response, and more. Despite these challenges, many cities are building momentum in realizing their economic development goals. This article explores some of the tools, potential team members, and tactics that can help your city boost its economic vitality.