Can Neighborhood Councils help attract businesses to their community?
YES! And if you attended last week’s Congress of Neighborhoods workshop entitled “Attracting Good Businesses for Community Success” and moderated by Dave Behar, Immediate Past President of the Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Council, you would have found out that you can help attract good businesses into your community and learn new tools to be more effective with economic development efforts. Attendees of the workshop heard from Elvina Beck, Central Hollywood Neighborhood Council Board Member and Business Owner; Mitchell Harmatz, Harbor Area Planning Commissioner and Business Owner; David Roberts, Economic Development Director in the Office of Councilman Joe Buscaino; and Octaviano Rios, Neighborhood Council Advocate for the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment. Octaviano had the opportunity to share with workshop attendees a few of the city resources available to them including working with the City Clerk’s Office to connect with or help develop a business improvement district; engaging with Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Clean Streets Initiative and becoming a Neighborhood Council Public Works Liaison to bring resources to help clean up neighborhoods and make them more attractive for private investment; and getting acquainted with the City’s Office of Finance and the Economic & Workforce Development Department that offers a long menu of resources to help attract, grow, and retain business in the community. Panelists also touched on the value of relationship-building with elected offices, property owners, and retailers you are eyeing to bring into community; as well as suggesting that board members be well acquainted with the needs of their community and generally knowing their community’s underutilized real estate such as vacant commercial property. Neighborhood Councils have a passion for not only advocating for their community’s needs, but to collaborate with other Neighborhood Councils on various issues that later become alliances, and economic development seems to be another passion to help improve neighborhoods.