St. Louis Moves to Create Comprehensive Development Strategy

By on June 26, 2018

From St. Louis Post-Dispatch:  St. Louis is seeking outside consultants to help craft a new economic development strategy, a project that city leaders have talked about for over a year.

The St. Louis Development Corp., the city’s economic development arm, voted Thursday to issue a request for proposals from firms to craft the document.

“The purpose of the Economic Development Strategy is to position the city on the path toward a resilient economy by casting the vision that SLDC, the city and its public, private and institutional partners can coalesce around and act upon to drive investment and growth in the city,” Otis Williams, SLDC executive director, said in an email.

Williams said he hoped to narrow the responses down to three to five firms by August and select a final proposal by September. The planning process, including public meetings and outreach, could take up to a year and cost as much as $500,000.

A 2016 report on the city’s incentive use called for the creation of a comprehensive strategy.

“In particular, surrounding communities have largely focused their development efforts around a citywide plan that does not appear to be the controlling factor in St. Louis,” the report found.

Yet the city has struggled to find the money to develop the strategy. This year, Williams said, he’s confident there will be money in the budget to pay for it.

SLDC initially indicated funding could come from the sales tax voters passed in April 2017, much of which was for MetroLink expansion but which also can pay for economic development. But the final SLDC resolution passed Thursday removed that language, and Williams said funding would come from a variety of sources.

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