6.3.1 MISSION, GOALS AND FUNCTION
We recommend the creation
of a City Park Local Development Corporation (CPLDC) as a not-for-profit
entity to facilitate and oversee the continued development of
industry in the area. The LDC would be a private, non-governmental
development organization run by local residents, business owners,
and other stakeholders in the neighborhood. The mission of the
LDC would be to strengthen and improve the City Park neighborhood
both economically and physically while leveraging the diversity
of the community.
The LDC could be used
to direct the City Park areas development as the residents
and business owners see fit. To reinforce industry, an LDC might:
· Strengthen the industrial base of the area by providing
management and technical assistance to businesses. This would
include resources such as management training, financial advising,
and marketing and export assistance.
· Improve the areas infrastructure to make it more
suitable for light industrial vehicles. Carry out other physical
improvements to enhance the areas value for manufacturing,
including noise-reducing landscaping (e.g., strategically placed
trees) that would ensure the compatibility of industrial uses
with the surrounding neighborhoods.
· Assist in developing new, modern manufacturing and warehouse
space in the area, as well as retrofitting and modernizing existing
· Link businesses with financial resources such as tax
credits and small business incentives for which they may qualify
· Develop a network of local businesses that could potentially
form the basis for a county-wide manufacturers association.
Networking could be facilitated through events such as workshops
and trade shows.
· Provide employment services to match qualified employees
with firms. This could include partnerships with educational institutions
in New Rochelle and elsewhere in southern Westchester County.
This list of possible
services to be offered by the LDC is not exhaustive or definitive.
Rather, its functions would change and expand as new community
needs were brought to its attention.
6.3.2 DETAILS ABOUT FORMATION
The principal agents
in forming a City Park LDC would be local residents, business
owners, and other community stakeholders. Interested parties should
conduct a needs assessment to identify crucial objectives, existing
programs and area potential. Community organization in City Park
has already been galvanized by the fight against Ikea, so the
basic community networks needed to form an LDC are in place.
As a launching point,
we outlined a strategic plan and mission statement in line with
our vision for reinforcing Westchesters industrial base.
However, it is critical that the established LDC clearly affirm
objectives up front to avoid political conflicts, duplication
of services, or competition for funds with another development
The success of the
LDC would be dependent on how well the founders address the key
elements of building consensus, procuring stable funding, establishing
due process, and creating a sound organization and good community
relations. The general criteria are modeled in a four-step fundamental
Step 1 - Bring together
community residents, city officials, other stakeholders and people
with technical and financial resources to draft the strategic
plan and goals. It would be particularly important that the residents
of the MacLeay apartment complex be represented in the group,
as they have been underrepresented in the community discussions
thus far. This group would lead to formation of a board of directors.
Diverse representation from all affected sectors of the community,
as well as support from influential city officials, would be important
(6 months). During the start-up phase, the LDC could be run by
a part-time executive director in a small office space that may
be provided by one of the area businesses.
Step 2 - Explore all
funding resources available, including state and city incentives,
foundations, philanthropic groups, and existing economic development
project groups (see funding section below). It could also be beneficial
to identify an interim fiscal agent that already has 501(c)3 tax-exempt
status while pursuing funding (6 months).
Step 3 - Write and
submit all federal, state, city and environmental applications
and proposals. This would include filing with the IRS, filing
the 501(c)3 status, registering the LDC with the state, creating
a consolidated plan and abiding by standard EIS procedures (1-2
Step 4 Establish
an initial organizational structure based on a five-year plan
including: a working board to form the LDC, an executive director,
an interim volunteer staff (until funding provides for permanent
staffing), and several committees to (a) draft bylaws and articles
of incorporation, (b) initiate fundraising, (c) build community
relations and (d) develop programs. It would be essential for
the working board to address ongoing organizational structure
as part of the LDCs formation. (3 months)
There are a number
of programmatic details the LDC working boardwould need to address
within each of these steps. However, the key would be a carefully
planned blueprint. Only through rigorous organizational principles
could an LDC become an effective agent in the face of two extreme
challenges, fundraising and land acquisition.
6.3.3 POTENTIAL FUNDING SOURCES
Possibly the greatest
challenge in founding an LDC is securing the initial funding.
To assume legitimate development power, the LDC would need enough
support to acquire and convert some parcels in accordance with
its industrial vision. A diversified financial scheme would ensure
a more balanced approach. This sub-section identifies a variety
of potential resources for the proposed City Park LDC.
Foundations and Grants
(from Private and Nonprofit Sectors)
· The LDC could
pursue grants from private banks and financial institutions via
the Community Reinvestment Act, which would encourage depository
institutions to help meet the financial needs of the communities
in which they operate. CRA provisions include not only loans but
grants, which commonly fall within the range of $2,500 to $5,000.
· The proposed
development corporation could also pursue funding from local and
regional nonprofit institutions such as the Westchester Community
Foundation, which provides grants in the range of $10,000 for
programs that strengthen communities. The Foundation also has
environmental programs that fund development plans for brownfield
areas, which include former shopping centers, vehicle stroage
sites, and other areas like the City Park area that do not necessarily
pose a health threat. Grants of this type typically range from
$20,000 to $30,000. (Conversation with Catherine Marsh, Executive
Director of the Westchester Community Foundation, April 20, 2001)
Federal, State, and County Resources
Development Block Grants: The needs of the LDC could be incorporated
into New Rochelles Consolidated Plan, which is used to solicit
CDBG funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Retention Network/Move Smart Program: In its Jobs Agenda
2001, the New York State Assembly has outlined plans for
$4.3 million in funding for an Industrial Retention Network to
provide business and financial assistance to manufacturers. The
Assembly supports funding of industrial retention efforts in each
region of the state to link Local Development Corporations with
funding and assistance from government agencies, financial institutions,
unions, and non-for-profit organizations. The proposed LDC could
also possibly channel assistance from the $4 million allocated
in the Jobs Agenda for Technology Development Organizations (TDOs).
The TDO program leverages state and federal funds to provide technical
assistance to manufacturers seeking to increase their efficiency
· The Westchester
County Industrial Development Authority (WCIDA) issues Industrial
Revenue Bonds for purchasing land, building or renovating structures,
and buying machinery and equipment. For qualified manufacturing
projects, bonds are exempt from federal, state, and local taxes.
· The Empire State Development Corporations (ESDC)
Empire Zones (EZ) Program encourages business development in designated
areas by offering targeted incentives and benefits to new and
expanding commercial and industrial firms. Benefits include sales
tax, wage tax and investment tax credits, free security surveys,
and energy discounts. However, it should be noted that a city
with a median income as high as New Rochelles would have
difficulty in obtaining an Empire Zone designation, as New Rochelle
and Westchester in general are perceived as wealthy in comparison
with distressed areas upstate.
Once the LDC developed
a base of member businesses, annual dues would contribute to its
revenue sources. Nonetheless, fundraising would be a perennial
activity, as local development corporations generally rely heavily
on government and private support for their continuing operation.
6.3.4 LAND ACQUISITION
Since the LDC would
be a non-profit entity, donors of property or money would receive
a tax deduction for their contributions. This would provide an
attractive exit strategy to any landowners seeking to rid themselves
of property in the area.
6.3.5 BENEFITS OF THE LOCAL DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION
The City Park LDC would
bring a proactive vision to the area and provide a the long-term
organizational means for sustainable economic development. Not
only would it serve as a vehicle by which funds from various sources
could be directed to the neighborhood, but it would also empower
the community to take part in the areas development. By
this means, an area heretofore perceived as blighted coiuld increase
its economic and social vibrancy. Furthermore, the type of economic
development promoted by the LDC would especially benefit low and
moderate income workers by retaining and creating jobs that pay
relatively high wages without requiring advanced degrees.