Investing in Communities During the Mortgage Crisis

Former Indianapolis Mayor Stephen Goldsmith is impressed by Mayor Christopher B. Coleman's efforts to revitalize depressed areas of his city, St. Paul. Coleman keeps the focus on increasing local investment through his 'Invest St. Paul' program.
October 14, 2008, 11am PDT | Tim Halbur
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"The strength of Mayor Coleman's leadership is clearly shown by his recognition of how critical it is to identify the leaders in the Invest Saint Paul communities, to build relationships with them based on mutual respect, and to ask them to help craft appropriate investment strategies. This focus on neighborhood-level engagement and leadership development in designing solutions may at times slow the rollout of new programs; however, it is essential to achieve long-term stability. New neighborhood markets already dot the landscape of aging commercial districts, thanks to the partnership of the Latino Economic Development Center. Other partners, based in the African-American community, offer culturally based homeownership training and mutual support program to promote homeownership as a means of expanding generational wealth.

With $4 billion in Community Development Block Grants on the way, local-government officials across the country would do well to keep their focus on the fundamental livability issues that make families and neighborhoods safe, stable and strong. When dealing with struggling communities, mayors must find the right place to inject public capital and do it in a way that leverages local participation."

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Published on Monday, October 6, 2008 in Governing Magazine
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