OverviewAll too often, communities paralyze themselves because they do not believe that they have the resources to initiate change—and therefore they do not even try. The case studies in Reaching for the Future: Creative Finance for Smaller Communities illustrate how communities have used and combined various sources of public funds to facilitate dramatic change.This publication focuses on six communities. Some are built on historic traditions, others are built on natural location, and others are newly built. Two neighborhoods are recovering from severe blight and disinvestment, two are suburban developments that have created a sense of place, and two are small cities that were watching their downtowns fail. In each case, to succeed required a strategic vision, leadership, and creative financing. The leadership rose in different ways but came together in effective public/private partnerships. In each case, the conversation started with “what do we want to be” rather than “how do we pay for it.” In each case, the communities, each with a struggling economy, figured out how to finance their dreams.The Financing Transformational Projects section identifies the most common public programs and how they might be used. It also addresses the use of public financing to catalyze private investment in public/private partnerships, and projects the strengths and weaknesses of those partnerships.Finally, a checklist offers leaders, both public and private, an opportunity to analyze whether they are ready to move forward.
Author BiographyMaureen McAvey is the Bucksbaum Family Chair for Retail at the Urban Land Institute (ULI) in Washington, D.C. She concentrates on urban retail and has led several special projects around demographics and future urban development. She is also a senior staff adviser to ULI's Building Healthy Places Initiative. McAvey holds two master's degrees: one from the University of Minnesota and the other from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. McAvey is a frequent national and international speaker and has engaged in dialogues in India and France as well as participated in conferences in China and Japan and throughout the United States.Tom Murphy is the ULI Canizaro/Klingbeil Families Chair for Urban Development, has been a senior resident fellow at the Urban Land Institute since 2006. A former mayor of Pittsburgh, his extensive experience in urban revitalization—what drives investment, what ensures long-lasting commitment—has been a key addition to the senior resident fellows' areas of expertise. Murphy also serves on the Advisory Board of ULI's Rose Center for Public Leadership in Land Use. Murphy has represented ULI in a number of cities, from Baton Rouge to Baltimore, helping them shape a revitalization strategy.