When Times are Tough - Get a Plan

Lately it seems that the economy in America is in its worst point in quite some time. This recession, housing crunch, credit crunch and everything else has had a tremendous impact on the economy. When economies are impacted, lives are impacted.

The city of Madison is in the process of doing something smart. During this tough time, they are setting forth a plan to improve the economic climate. A few weeks ago I attended a presentation by Matt Mikolajewski as he discussed the three to five year strategic plan for Madison. Among the highlights of the plan included the following: finding ways to convene greater public and private economic development leadership, improve the process of regulation of business development, and looking at business retention and expansion.

One of the areas in need of improvement is the zoning code. Apparently the Terrance Wall rants are finally being heard in Madison because the current zoning code hasn't been updated since the 1960's. Another way that the city is helping developers is through a new permitting software that will be web-based. There's an awareness that customer service is important not only in the private sector, but also the public sector. Attention taxpayers, be on the lookout for new ways to give feedback to the city government.

When looking at business retention and expansion, the city is trying to change from a reactive position to a more proactive position to attract both large and small businesses. I dream of a day when there is more harmony between the private and public sectors.

Internal changes within the city are important, but there are some physical priorities as well. These include: Research Park II, improvement to the East Washington Capitol Gateway, and the creation of an Industrial area on 27 acres on the Southeast side. Other things in the toolkit include more utilization of the CDA (Community Development Authority) for basic sector development using TIFs (Tax Incremental Financing).

There have been a number of opportunities for changes and input over the past year, but the current plan is practically the the final draft. The plan is posted on the city of Madison website.

Last week I took a commercial/investment real estate course course and many of our projections were three to five years out. I have spoken with a number of business owners and many look to really break ahead within three to five years. For some reason there are a number of

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