Anchorage wins grant for economic development workshops

first_imgThe Municipality of Anchorage announced Wednesday it has won a competitive grant to bring a workshop focusing on the economic and fiscal health to the city.Download AudioThe grant, which comes from the national non-profit Smart Growth America, is a free, two-day workshop covering development strategies to support the local economy.Though the ground covered could apply anywhere, Chris Schutte – who is the municipality’s director of economic and community development – says it’s especially relevant in one section of Anchorage.“Downtown Anchorage has some pretty amazing potential from a residential and commercial standpoint that has not been fully realized,” he said.And through these workshops, Schutte is hoping the group can help find some answers to one lingering question.“What’s the secret sauce? What’s been missing? What are we not doing that can help facilitate the growth and the development that we have seen in downtowns across the country,” Schutte said.That national perspective is something he hopes Smart Growth America can bring to the table.Alex Dodds is the communications director at Smart Growth America.“We’ll talk about a little bit what we have learned from other communities across the country,” Dodds said. “So we’ve worked with many communities doing this kind of work and we’ll share a little bit of information about what we’ve learned and the strategies that have worked really well in other places.”Those strategies range from identifying key residential and commercial properties for revitalization, to increasing clean up efforts in order draw more visitors to new areas, to developing housing priorities.She says the first day of the two-day workshop is aimed at giving the public opportunities to ask questions, learn about the available tools, and talk about what they would like to see in the city.The second day, Dodds says, focuses on the efforts of city and community leaders.“To talk to them about what they’re working on and how development strategies, different development patterns or specific development approaches could help them achieve the work, achieve the goals that they’re working toward,” Dodds said. “So whether that’s bringing more jobs downtown, creating more housing or whatever their working working on to support the broader economy of Anchorage.”She says the selection of Anchorage is due largely to the work the municipality is already doing to move forward in its economic development.And Schutte thinks the workshops may play a key role in solidifying plans for Anchorage’s fiscal future.“There’s been sort of fits and starts in the development and redevelopment of downtown Anchorage and that presents, I think, a wonderful laboratory for this technical assistance,” Schutte said.No dates have been set for the workshops, which will take place in Anchorage, but Schutte says it will likely take place in the late spring or early summer of next year.Anchorage and six other communities around the United States were selected from a pool of 68 applications spanning 34 states.last_img

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