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Urban revitalization projects bring economic challenges: will local communities be left out of development efforts?

As million-dollar urban revitalization re·vi·tal·ize  
tr.v. re·vi·tal·ized, re·vi·tal·iz·ing, re·vi·tal·iz·es
To impart new life or vigor to: plans to revitalize inner-city neighborhoods; tried to revitalize a flagging economy.
 projects take place in cities across the country, African American African American Multiculture A person having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa. See Race.  developers and city officials are working to ensure that the largely minority residents there enjoy and participate in the economic growth.

"We've all seen where you simply move the old economy out and a new economy in," says Vincent Barnes, executive director of the Rebirth of Englewood Community Development Corp. of Chicago's South Side. In many cities, revitalization has increased housing and commercial rental costs, making the cities unaffordable un·af·ford·a·ble  
Too expensive: medical care that has become unaffordable for many.

 to residents, he says.

To combat this trend, Barnes and others involved with development projects are seeking creative ways to make revitalized re·vi·tal·ize  
tr.v. re·vi·tal·ized, re·vi·tal·iz·ing, re·vi·tal·iz·es
To impart new life or vigor to: plans to revitalize inner-city neighborhoods; tried to revitalize a flagging economy.
 areas affordable. "We want to make sure that individuals in the community presently are part of that development process ... that they benefit from it," says Barnes. "That is, as incomes grow, community residents' incomes also grow. As houses are built, individuals in the community can buy those houses."

Since 2000, the Rebirth of Englewood Community Development Corp. has spurred more than $19 million in economic growth through new housing, job creation, and small business development One way the organization has sought to make sure Englewood residents aren't displaced displaced

see displacement.
 is by partnering with corporations to offer residents jobs that pay $4,000 to $5,000 more than the community's median income.

Kansas City, Missouri Kansas City is the largest city in the state of Missouri. It encompasses parts of Jackson, Clay, Cass, and Platte counties and is the anchor city of the Kansas City Metropolitan Area, the second largest in Missouri, which includes counties in both Missouri and Kansas. , is another city experiencing a renaissance of sorts. City Manager Wayne A. Cauthen Wayne A. Cauthen (born September 5, 1955 in Lancaster, South Carolina is the first appointed African-American City Manager in Kansas City, MO. Prior to his appointment, Cauthen served as the Chief of Staff for Denver, CO Mayor Wellington Webb.  oversees $1.2 billion worth of economic development downtown. Among the planned projects are a $276 million sports arena and an $850 million entertainment district.

To ensure that the city remains affordable, Cauthen plans to make available both subsidized sub·si·dize  
tr.v. sub·si·dized, sub·si·diz·ing, sub·si·diz·es
1. To assist or support with a subsidy.

2. To secure the assistance of by granting a subsidy.
 and market-value units. In addition, some developers' contracts require them to set aside a percentage of affordable housing units.

Striking a balance with upscale development is just as crucial as providing for lower-income residents, says Michael E. Johnson, president of Em Johnson Interest Inc., a San Francisco-based development company currently working on a $72 million construction project in San Francisco's Fillmore jazz district.

"In neighborhoods like this we cannot continue to have all subsidized, Section 8, and below-market-rate housing and expect to increase economic development in the community. [We must] bring in a mix of higher incomes, both residential and commercial," Johnson says.
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Title Annotation:AROUND THE NATION
Author:Holmes, Tamara E.
Publication:Black Enterprise
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 1, 2006
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