Investment can be tricky. The when where and how clearly can pose problems. But today I just wanted to put down some thoughts on a few recent observations and conversations I have had with others.
First, why not invest in places that are successful. Why not build on existing assets that you have. We are all trying to spend our money in the best way possible, while still growing our retail, employment and housing markets. So why doesn’t the city target its investments where they may have the biggest payback? I see multiple examples where cities have put a little investment into a place, i.e. parks, street scapes even a vision for a neighborhood that then allows for and encourages private investment in that place. Cities have so many tools at their disposal, spending a little capital on infrastructure can and will allow for additional private development to meet its financial needs, and can be the encouragement needed to bring private capital to bear. We have a variety of great places now. We have a variety of assets now that people visit, use and interact with everyday. Why not capitalize on those and build on them versus building something brand new that is not connected back to the places and infrastructure that is already in place and succeeding?
Which brings me to a conversation I had with a friend last night. Who expressed to me, while he was driving one day, that he looked down on the City’s newest entertainment district, and noticed how stale and artificial it was. A place the city was creating to be an entertainment spot. A place the city was creating. A place the city was investing large sums of money into. A place that had in span of minutes already turned off a potential customer. At the same time, the city is littered with great places that need help and encouragement, and the places that people already visit for entertainment that have unique character and history and the ability to grow. WIth a little help of course. With much less the city could do so much more to help these existing places succeed. Versus dumping funds into a new place in hopes that people will come.