Now Hiring: Technical Assistance Intern

Smart Growth America is seeking a paid intern to support our technical assistance program and our workshops for state and local governments’ across the country.

The Intern will be an integral part of the team and will play a vital role in managing the day-to-day operations of our workshops for local communities around the country. The Intern will assist with our work in major urban areas as well as our growing presence in rural communities. Core responsibilities include: logistical and research support for workshops and policy summits, coordinating with workshop instructors and communities receiving workshops, authoring blogs, promoting our technical assistance through social networking, and providing administrative support to the team.

Now hiring: Communications Associate

Smart Growth America seeks a Communications Associate to assist in the development, writing, design and layout of its numerous publications and reports, particularly on subjects related to transportation and transit-oriented development.

600 manufacturing jobs return to Liberty, Texas with the help of Brownfields Tax Incentive

The Boomerang Tube Manufacturing Facility in Liberty, TX. Photo courtesy via Brinkmann Constructors.

Liberty, TX is one of the many communities where the federal Brownfields Tax Incentive has brought new jobs to formerly abandoned industrial plants.

The National Tube and Pipe (later Allied Pipe and Tube) opened in Liberty in 1973 and eventually became the largest employer in the town. When the company closed in 1993, it left behind a 492,000 square-foot manufacturing facility contaminated with PCBs, asbestos, a polluted retention pond and petroleum.

In 2009 Boomerang Tube, a manufacturer of pipe and tubes for oil and gas customers, announced its intent renovate and expand the old National Tube and Pipe factory into a new, state-of-the-art manufacturing facility. The project would bring 350 manufacturing jobs back to Liberty in the process. Boomerang Tube had one significant hurdle, though: an estimated $1.2 million in cleanup costs.

The federal Brownfields Tax Incentive program helped make cleanup feasible for Boomerang. The Tax Incentive effectively limited the impact of cleanup costs on the development budget. Tax abatement and other local incentives also factored in, and Access Industries provided financing for the project. All of this helped clear the way for a $200 million investment in the plant and equipment.

Smart growth news – November 30

Beyond Sprawl: Gambling On Downtown Las Vegas
KPBS (Calif.), November 30, 2011
Like most Southwest cities, the Las Vegas growth model was to expand out, creating sprawling suburbs and quiet gated communities. But one trendsetting local business – the online shoe company, Zappos – thinks an urban setting would be a better fit for its employees and industry.

Cleveland Turns Uptown Into New Downtown
New York Times, November 29, 2011
Since 1950, when its population peaked at 914,808, Cleveland has steadily shed residents and jobs. In 2010, just 396,815 people lived within the city limits, almost 81,000 fewer than a decade before, and about the same number of people who lived in Cleveland in 1900…But in recent years Cleveland’s municipal government and its Regional Transit Authority have rallied major employers, banks, foundations and developers around a central goal of rebuilding the city’s core according to the new urban market trends of the 21st century — health care, higher education, entertainment, good food, new housing and expanded mass transportation.

KC mayor develops priorities so progress can continue
Kansas City Star, November 29, 2011
Q: What can the city do to promote economic development on the East Side?
A: It’s hard to economically develop a place where people don’t feel safe…That has an impact on how people feel about things. It depresses property values. It makes businesses unwilling to invest in an area. It traps people who don’t have means to get out while others do. You perpetuate a demographic. The first thing is let’s make people safe. Let’s deal with the crumbling housing, foreclosed housing and infrastructure issues.

Smart growth news – August 10

Detroit’s downtown ‘starting to fight back’
Washington Times, August 7, 2011
For the past seven months, geologist Dan Ten Brink has made his home in a loft in Detroit’s Corktown neighborhood, working at an upscale cafe to make ends meet while on the lookout for a more permanent job. He is part of a trend of young professionals who are relocating to Detroit.

Camden touts ‘Live Where You Work’ program
Courier-Post (N.J.), August 10, 2011
At a City Hall press conference Tuesday, city and state officials announced the availability of low-interest, fixed-rate home mortgages to prospective buyers who work in the city.

Young professionals drawn to urban living
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Wis.), August 6, 2011
Bryan Cooper didn’t give much thought to where he’d live while working as an intern at GE Healthcare in Waukesha. But Cooper found that when he wasn’t at the office, he was spending a lot of time around downtown Milwaukee instead of hanging out at his suburban apartment.

Incentives, planned apartments heat up downtown rental market
Detroit News, August 10, 2011
With the launch of a major incentive program to lure more people to live in downtown Detroit, the rental market in the 48226 area code, which covers the central business district, promises to be competitive for at least the near future.

Ohio cities subsidize sprawl through business relocation incentives: study

Lucrative property tax breaks to relocate businesses have helped fuel suburban sprawl in Cleveland and Cincinnati, according to a new report from Good Jobs First. The subsidized relocation has pushed jobs out of the urban core and has affected an estimated 14,500 workers, while contributing to widening gaps in wealth and opportunity in the cities.

These findings are outlined in the new study, “Paid to Sprawl: Subsidized Job Flight from Cleveland and Cincinnati.” Funded by the Ford Foundation, it’s the largest study of subsidized relocation ever conduction in the United States.

The examined tax incentives and business relocations in the Cleveland and Cincinnati metro areas – and the findings are striking. In Cleveland, four-fifths of the business relocations were outbound and moved jobs an average of five miles outside the city center. Pushing jobs further from the city center makes them less accessible or inaccessible by transit, thereby decreasing job opportunities for workers who rely on public transportation to get to work.

Smart growth news – June 24, 2011

Poor transit system, sprawl make trips to work difficult
Kansas City Star (Kan.), June 22, 2011
A Washington think tank ranks Kansas City’s transit system among the worst in the country at getting people to jobs. Part of the blame belongs to our spread-out growth pattern, which has pulled an ever-larger share of jobs to the suburbs — beyond the easy reach of buses. “We don’t just have a transit problem, we have a job-sprawl problem,” said Ron McLinden, a public transportation advocate with the Transit Action Network in Kansas City. The recent report by the Brookings Institution ranked the Kansas City area 90th among 100 metro areas based on how well its bus system serves the workforce.

Headquarters come and go – it’s jobs that count
Raleigh News & Observer (N.C.), June 23, 2011
The Triangle: A great place to live and work; not so great for a corporate headquarters. You’d never hear this region’s boosters utter such a line, but it’s hard not to at least think it after a week in which the Triangle received another economic pat on the back and downtown Raleigh lost another headquarters. The accolade came from the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank, which ranked the Triangle among the 20 strongest performing metro areas in the U.S. through the first quarter.

Transformation Detroit: Dan Gilbert’s grand plan for downtown tech hub, retail and residential (Mich.), June 23, 2011
These days, it seems like everybody has a plan to revitalize Detroit. But unlike many would-be visionaries, Dan Gilbert has what it takes to get it done: Money. Boatloads of it. The Quicken Loans founder and chairman is in the process of purchasing the 23-story Dime Building near Campus Martius, which would be his fourth major downtown real estate acquisition in the past 10 months, including the First National Building, Chase Tower and the Madison Theatre Building.

Walking expert prescribes ‘road diets,’ traffic circles for cities seeking street makeovers
Associated Press via Washington Post, June 20, 2011
Today, with the health, environmental and quality-of-life benefits of walk-able neighborhoods, they can’t get enough of Burden. Even in car-dependent Southern California, where he spent a few of his roughly 340 days a year on the road this spring, city planners are literally walking the talk alongside him.