The Community and Economic Development program at the School of Government provides public officials with training, research, and assistance that support local efforts to create jobs and wealth, expand the tax base, and maintain vibrant communities. We deploy the resources of the University to support the development goals of communities in North Carolina.
Recent Blog Posts
Susie Senior, an 80 year-old participant in the Program of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE), begins her day with a home visit from a PACE home care assistant. The assistant helps Susie get dressed, organize medicines, and do some basic shopping and errands within the community. Following that, Susie is picked up by a PACE shuttle bus that takes her to her program center for the day. Here, Susie might have the primary care physician check on a specific health problem, socialize with friends, eat a lunch customized for his dietary needs, and exercise with a physical therapist to maintain mobility. Susie may attend the center from one to five days a week, based on the team’s recommendations and her needs and interests. Each evening, Susie boards the shuttle and returns home where she continues to live safely within the community.
Research demonstrates that participants in these programs have more enjoyment in life, remain independent longer, and receive more individual attention from a caregiver each day. Tracking participants over time shows they have experienced improved health outcomes and reduced health expenses. As a result, many long term care stakeholders have been supportive of expanding the PACE model of care. In 2005, legislation passed and created $7.5M in funding in an effort to expand PACE to rural communities. Predominantly a model targeted for urban settings, PACE now extends its reach into many rural areas across the United States. Read more »
Earlier in this Fall I reported on a webinar co-sponsored by the UNC School of Government and the Center for Environmental Farming System (CEFS) on local food and local government. The purpose of the webinar was to educate local government officials about how the local food movement can be an important part of a community and regional community development strategy. Sustainable local food systems contribute significantly to a community’s economic, environmental, social, and public health. A lot of information was covered in the webinar and a lot of questions were posed by viewers, and there was not enough time to address all the questions. In this post I’d like to take up a few of the questions, and with the help of my colleagues from CEFS, provide some answers.
Mrs. Charlotte Swift is a fictitious person living in a quiet Durham neighborhood in the small home that she and her husband purchased in 1954. Her husband passed away about 10 years ago and, at 82 years old, she is now living in the home alone, struggling to keep up with necessary maintenance. Mrs. Swift has a number of chronic health conditions requiring regular medical care, including glaucoma which prevents her from being able to drive a car. One of Mrs. Swift’s three children lives in a nearby town and visits regularly, but working full-time makes it difficult for her to transport her mother to doctor’s appointments and provide the needed daily support. The family is considering skilled nursing care but is concerned about the costs associated with such programs.
Across North Carolina, an increasing number of elderly individuals and their families find themselves facing similar challenges. In the next 20 years, North Carolina’s population of adults age 65 and over is expected to increase at a rate of 59%, from approximately 1.9 million to more than 3.1 million individuals, according to the NC Office of State Budget and Management. The aging of the baby boom generation, along with an increasing number of retirees migrating to North Carolina, forecasts this segment of the population as the fastest growing age group statewide. As our population ages, the need for a variety of skilled nursing care options, particularly affordable ones, will also grow. Read more »
The process of recruiting business and industry, generally, is not well understood by individuals who are not directly involved in that activity. The more specific site selection process that companies use to locate a new facility is even more mysterious to external observers. A recent article published in Public Management written by two seasoned economic development experts in North Carolina sheds some light on the inner workings of business recruitment and site selection. The article is written from the vantage point of a community trying to secure a new industrial project. In the article, Pat Mitchell and Chuck Abernathy draw on their experience serving in the dual roles of county manager and economic development director, to take us inside the process. The article illustrates the complexity, potential for conflict, and inherent tensions involved in recruiting industry, and addresses key issues such as:
- The need to educate elected officials upfront about the process of economic development
- Why confidentiality is required
- What is important and who is involved at different stages of the site selection process
- The importance of effective communication throughout the process
The following are articles and reports on the web that the Community and Economic Development Program at the UNC School of Government shared through social media over the past month. Follow us on twitter or facebook to receive regular updates.
Cabarrus County NC bows out of economic development ‘incentives game’: bit.ly/19Zb6Kj
North Carolina has overhauled its rural economic development delivery system, prompting the Raleigh News & Observer to ask questions about the future of rural development in the state: bit.ly/1aVlDFB
Dr. Pat Mitchell, Assistant Secretary for Rural Economic Development at the North Carolina Department of Commerce, touts the department’s rural strategy during a visit to Stanly County: http://bit.ly/1aWUcNM
In response to reports of problems with public-private partnerships for economic development in other states, North Carolina’s economic development leaders were asked to explain how North Carolina’s proposed public-private partnership will be different:
- The North Carolina Department of Commerce Secretary explains that the state’s proposed public-private partnership will follow government transparency laws: Read more »
In response to pressure from the state’s new data centers, Duke Energy recently filed a pilot program with the North Carolina Utilities Commission requesting approval to directly sell renewable energy to “new” industrial customers in the state. This pilot program seems directly targeted to the new data centers in the Foothills of the state. Google, in particular, has been working closely with the investor-owned energy company to make available this option and help it reduce its carbon footprint to zero.
An emerging new source of supply for affordable senior housing is the adaptive reuse of historic buildings. These projects not only create much-needed new units of senior housing, but also offer communities a creative solution to their historic buildings, many of which are in dire need of renovation. Affordable senior housing as the primary use in a historic redevelopment project can can work well, financially, because the projects can be structured to access State and Federal Historic Preservation Tax Credits along with Federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTCs).
In North Carolina, at least 19 historic buildings have been adaptively reused for low-income senior housing since 2000. School buildings are the most common type of historic structure that has been historically renovated in North Carolina for affordable senior housing. The Paul Braxton School located in Siler City is one such example. Built in 1922, this school sat empty for nearly 25 years until Community Housing Partners (CHP) converted its 32 classrooms into apartments. Architecturally distinctive, this school is one of the few surviving civic examples of the rarely implemented Art Deco style in Chatham and Randolph Counties. Read more »
Carolina County has been working with its largest municipality, Tar Heel Town, to redevelop one of Tar Heel Town’s more dilapidated neighborhoods. Many of the properties in this neighborhood are owned by absentee landlords who fail to maintain them properly. Not surprisingly, many of these properties are also subject to liens for thousands of dollars of delinquent property taxes and minimum housing ordinance repair costs.
A local community development corporation (CDC) hopes to acquire and redevelop some of these properties into affordable housing, but the CDC has had difficulty convincing the absentee landlords to sell. Now the CDC is pushing the city and county to foreclose on the delinquent properties in the neighborhood—and then, with the liens cleared, the CDC hopes to buy some of the properties out of foreclosure at a substantial discount. The town council is supportive of the proposal, because it sees it as a way to accomplish some of its goals for the neighborhoods. Is the CDC’s proposal realistic? How could it be implemented?
In short, the CDC’s proposal is realistic, but the city and county would need to proceed carefully… Read more »
How can we build on our existing assets to revitalize our downtown? How can we attract new residents and entrepreneurs into distressed areas? How can we encourage the kind of culture and vitality that keeps young professionals in our downtown? Many North Carolina towns are asking themselves these questions in the wake of an evolving rural economy, the recession, and a changing political infrastructure. In the search for innovative redevelopment strategies, several post-industrial communities have relied on Artist Relocation Programs (ARPs) as a tool for promoting place-based revitalization.
Previous blog posts have highlighted the arts and culture industry’s positive impact on local economies. Artist Relocation Programs offer a more targeted approach to creative placemaking. The term Artist Relocation Program (ARP) describes any initiative that involves an intentional effort to attract professional artists into disinvested areas through the provision of residential and/or studio space. Artists are attracted to an area through a variety of planning tools and recruitment incentives, including flexible zoning that allows for live/work spaces, downtown studio space at below market rents, financing to rehabilitate historic homes, free marketing and professional services. In some communities, ARPs have resulted in the rehabilitation of deteriorating housing stock, an enhanced tax base, and reinvestment in downtown through the establishment of a more vibrant and diverse arts community. Read more »
The following article appeared in the Fall 2013 issue of Coates Connection:
Development Finance Initiative Helps Communities Secure Funding for Economic Development Projects Read more »