In only six months the impact of an aligned, focused, collaborative strategy organized around various quality of life aspects is yielding what city officials had hoped for, and more. With economic development as its number one priority, the City of Riverside has been aggressively working to “help businesses create jobs for our community” and has catalyzed their efforts through the Economic Development Action Plan that was adopted this past February.
Along with several notable action items that had been completed or are well underway, Office of Economic Development staff reported that an estimated 1,396 jobs were created or retained in Riverside in the last fiscal year (July 1, 2011 to June 1, 2012). This number reflects only those projects that City staff assisted with and does not include an estimated 9,631 construction jobs that were added due to various City, university and regional transportation projects during that same time period. In addition, almost 1,125 jobs are in the “pipeline” of economic development projects.
Framed around Seizing Our Destiny, the Economic Development Action Plan included an original 27 specific goals/action items organized by the four pillars that collectively describe the community’s shared vision for quality of life: Intelligent Growth, Catalyst for Innovation, Location of Choice and Unified City. Much like the inclusive spirit of Seizing Our Destiny, the plan leverages staff in other City departments as well as partner organizations such as the chambers of commerce, business improvement districts, schools and universities, business development centers, and similar business and educational groups to attract, retain and grow jobs in Riverside.
Some of the other significant accomplishments that were reported include the creation of a “Business First Program” to provide better access to City staff and permit processing information, as well as the development of quarterly economic snapshots in partnership with the Greater Riverside Chambers of Commerce. In addition, a supplemental Business Attraction Strategy was added to bolster new job creation by launching a proactive and strategic business recruitment initiative.
City Manager Scott Barber originally introduced the Economic Development Action Plan after he pledged to the City Council that he would develop a plan that would make it clear City Hall was doing whatever it could to help create jobs in Riverside. To review the full six month progress update, click here; to read the original Economic Development Action Plan, click here.