City: Prosperity starts here

By: 
Dec. 2, 2010

Palm Coast proposes Prosperity 2021; a new focus, ‘Discover Palm Coast,’ will be launched.

The city’s new economic development plan, dubbed “Prosperity 2021,” takes a three-pronged approach. Unveiled Tuesday, Nov. 30, at the City Council workshop, the plan aims to strengthen neighborhoods as a first priority.

The second priority is to promote the economic health of the current businesses in the city — particularly the aging commercial districts.

And third, the city plans to advertise the city elsewhere to help tourists, retirees and environmentally friendly businesses “Discover Palm Coast.”

City Manager Jim Landon reminded City Council members, who were enthusiastic about the ideas presented, that the initiatives would require funding.

But that discussion was purposely delayed. Landon said he wants to build consensus first.
In the meantime, Prosperity 2021 marks the city’s effort to take the lead.

“When it comes to economic development in Palm Coast, continuing to do what we’ve done in the past is not acceptable,” Landon said. “There is an expectation that we will try to change how we attract businesses and how we support our existing businesses.

“ … It’s time for the city to take a lead for economic development in Palm Coast.”

Landon added: “We can’t do it by ourselves by any stretch.” He said the city needs to work together with the other municipalities, but it also needs to recognize what makes Palm Coast different from, for example, Flagler Beach, or vice versa, and try to promote its own strengths.

Neighborhoods
Senior Planner Beau Falgout related various ideas for the three facets of the plan. To strengthen neighborhoods, the city could improve gateway signs and seek funding to help families move into the empty houses in the city. In addition, the city may consider gifts, such as free golfing, to residents who help attract friends or families to move to their neighborhoods.

Business districts
The help aging commercial areas, the city may reach out to owners of the shopping centers and find ways to help with marketing.
Regional promotion

To promote itself in the region and the nation and to attract individuals and businesses to visit and relocate, the city plans to eventually launch a website — DiscoverPalmCoast.com — that will be more user-friendly and would help to brand the city as an outdoor-recreation hotspot.

Mayor’s reaction
Mayor Jon Netts liked the direction of the plan so far — particularly in its attention to neighborhoods. The first priority should be to make the city an attractive place to live, he said.

“This is the first time I’ve heard a discussion of economic development that goes beyond job retention, job creation and recruitment,” he said. “Going back to the economic development referendum issue, what you heard was: ‘What does that do for me? I don’t need any more businesses. I don’t need a commercial factory.’

“I think this begins to answer that question: ‘What’s in it for me?’”