ULI report: Patrick Fox on clear goals, accountability and scarce resources

fox.jpgAt the ULI panel’s presentation last month, Patrick Fox, president of Saint Consulting Group in Hingham, Massachusetts, offered the shortest segment about establishing accountability in Springfield.

Offering a single visual element—a slide listing eight critieria for the use of scarce resources, including both land and finances—Fox described a “struggle over the allocation of resources. …There has to be clear accountability, inclusivity, and consistent and reliable decision-making on the part of the city government.”

Fox continued, “The city needs to regain the trust of the business and residential community, and establish consistent guidelines for decision-making.”

The first question to ask in gauging where to allocate precious resources, Fox said, is does the proposed project strengthen the downtown? “We heard from a lot of people, when we did the interviews, that there was too much concentration on the downtown,” Fox said. “The downtown is the key part of the city,” he continued, “and the whole city cannot be healthy unless the downtown is healthy.”

criteria.jpg

Will the new project provide skilled labor jobs or pay livable wages? Does it leverage private investment? On that note, Fox said, “We’re suggesting three to four dollars private for one dollar, public, spent. It’s important to pick projects that are going to best leverage private investment.”

“Will [a proposed project] improve the quality of life in Springfield, in the neighborhoods, and in the downtown, for its residents?” Fox asked. “Will it increase homeownership? Does it positively impact real estate values? Because as real estate values go up, lots of problems get solved.”

Listen to Fox’s two-minute presentation on establishing accountability (mp4, 1 MB)

“Is it a catalyst for future development? Does it increase local tax revenues?” Fox continued. “Using these criteria, the city should be able to prioritize projects, and ensure that tax dollar impacts are maximized for economic development and the future of Springfield.”

Author: Heather Brandon

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