PCDC Gathers Investor Input On Prosperity Project II Plan
Wednesday, February 24, 2016
Confidential interviews will be conducted with local business owners and community leaders during the next several weeks to determine whether it makes sense to conduct a fund-raising campaign to support economic development in the next five years.
The PCDC board of directors outlined an aggressive 5-year plan to support current businesses, increase population, spur housing development, and attract a new tenant for the Iron Horse Business & Industry Park.
The price tag for the plan is $3.9 million. The half-cent LB840 sales tax approved by voters in November 2015 is expected to generate close to $2.4 million between 2017 and 2021, leaving a gap of $1.5 million. The feasibility study will tell PCDC whether or not that gap can be financed by local investors.
“It takes an entire community to move the economic needle,” PCDC Executive Director Monica Boyken said. ”PCDC’s strategies will only be effective if they are embraced by individuals and businesses that care about the community’s future and are willing and able to provide financial support.”
Boyken said the recent LB840 renewal process forced PCDC to look at goals and strategies for the next 15 years. Through community interviews, meetings and board strategy sessions, the board generated a five-year action plan for 2017-2021.
PCDC has hired Convergent Nonprofit Solutions based in Atlanta, Ga., to conduct the campaign feasibility study. The same company also conducted the feasibility study for the 2011 campaign.
Convergent will conduct the confidential interviews and provide PCDC with feedback about support for the plan. The consultant will also determine the likelihood that a pool of investors can fund the $1.5 million gap. PCDC will use the feedback to make adjustments to the plan and if the response is favorable, embark on a $1.5 million Prosperity Project II campaign.
The original Prosperity Project campaign in 2011 generated $1.3 million. Those funds were combined with LB840 local-option sales tax funds and resulted in $40 million in capital investments in the county. It helped PCDC purchase the 134-acre Iron Horse Business & Industry Park and provided funds for other economic stimulus projects, such as the downtown revitalization project, gap financing loans for businesses, façade improvement grants and high-demand jobs scholarships.
Some of the goals of Prosperity Project II include:
- Extending utilities to the Iron Horse Business & Industry Park.
- Providing funds and incentives to boost the construction of much-needed workforce housing.
- Continuing a business façade improvement grant program.
- Providing seed money to start a research farm that would benefit area ag producers and the businesses that serve them.
A Convergent representative will interview local business owners and individuals between Feb. 22 and March 11 with four to six interviews scheduled each day. All statements and opinions in the interviews will remain anonymous. Convergent will report its findings to PCDC on April 11.