We have often bemoaned the County's lack of vision for our area. It's because of that lack of vision that our community gets the bottom of the barrel when it comes to economic development. You know: check cashing places instead of banks, discount stores instead of interesting retail shops, chain fast food places instead of decent sit-down restaurants, way too many to-go liquor licenses, big box retail instead of Mom and Pop entrepreneurial enterprises. It seems like the County's economic development "plan" is to sit around at the building counter until some guy walks in with a get-rich-quick project that winds up messing with your neighborhood and never really delivers on County revenue expectations. The County misses the mark. That's just how the County rolls.
What could our community do if it was a city? Maybe we could be like Citrus Heights. Their City Council (their elected officials who look out for local priorities and making Citrus Heights better) has allocated $1,000,000 to attract new businesses to Citrus Heights. Specifically, the City of Citrus Heights has established a Business Attraction Incentive Program "to enhance the City’s competitiveness in attracting designated target industry businesses that create community vibrancy and commercial area vitality." They want:
- Restaurants, bars coffee and tea shops that are NOT national chains
- Entertainment businesses like bowling alleys, movie theaters, and the performing arts
- Breweries and craft beverage businesses including artisan manufacturing, tasting rooms and brew pubs
- Businesses that diversify the local economy and improve quality of life by providing unique and/or underrepresentaed products and services.
To make that happen, they offer a whole bunch of hand-holding services, including expedited plan review (Gasp! Have you ever had to get a County Building Permit? ). The program is a centerpiece of the city's Economic Development Division, which is run by Megan Huber - perhaps you remember her inspiring talk at our community meeting on 12/2/2019. Details about the city's new program are at http://citrusheights.net/DocumentCenter/View/19660/Citrus-Heights-Business-Attraction-Incentive-Program-Guidelines.