Wednesday, March 12, 2008

How we can spend some of our economic development fund

Seth Rosen's article in today's Daily Progress entitled "City officials say scrutinize fund
Rules sought on use of economic development money" suggests that there is currently $4.3 million in a fund to promote economic development. I believe it would be a terrific idea to invest some of this fund in improving pedestrian infrastsructure in the commercial centers of the city. A more pedestrian friendly environment will certainly attract people to these areas and increase economic activity.

The first meeting of a newly formed Pedestrian Safety Committee is happening today at 5:00 pm in the Basement Conference Room at City Hall to investigate some of the challenges pedestrians face in much of our city's commercial areas. I think having the city put some funding behind this effort is a timely investment in our community. I would like to know that my efforts in identifying ways of improving pedestrian safety will have a chance of actually leading to implemented improvements. I will be sure to suggest use of some of this fund as part of any safety improvement strategy this committee might develop. The better Charlottesville's commercial areas meet the needs of people, the less financial incentive we as a city will need to provide to get businesses to locate in Charlottesville. Although I am not a fan of the term, this just might be a 'win-win' opportunity for the city and the public. A few hundred thousand dollars in pedestrian improvements can likely provide benefits that the public will truly notice and appreciate.

Note: See Pedestrian Safety Committee forming post for more information.

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