ST. LOUIS — The City of St. Louis has unveiled a plan that it hopes will attract more people to live in and invest in the city.
The Equitable Economic Strategic Framework is now open for the public to view and comment on. City officials said it was developed after hundreds of interviews and meetings, through feedback from the community and with the help of a 47-member committee. It aims to “create collaborative opportunities for development and investment that benefit all the city’s people and neighborhoods,” according to a news release sent Tuesday morning.
“With this Framework, the City is changing the way we do business,” Mayor Lyda Krewson said in the release. “The hallmark of our plan is connecting people, neighborhoods, and jobs, so that we can address decades of inequity and disinvestment and, instead, help all St. Louisans build wealth through opportunities and strengthen our neighborhoods.”
The plan aims to achieve four key objectives:
- Increase the city’s population by 30,000 residents by 2030
- Exceed the national growth rate in jobs and payrolls among our key industries
- Close existing opportunity, employment, wage, entrepreneurship and wealth gaps for people of color
- Achieve sustainable long-term tax revenue growth for the city
With those overarching objectives in mind, committee members developed 10 specific goals that can be measured to see how well the city is keeping on track with executing the plan. They focus on growing entry-level and middle-wage job opportunities and developing new leadership models that are more representative of St. Louis’ population.
Measurable goals include:
- Reducing St. Louisans’ poverty rates and increasing median household incomes across all racial/ethnic groups.
- Closing the unemployment and wage gap between African Americans and their white counterparts, as well as other disadvantaged racial/ethnic groups.
- Slowing, then reversing, population decline – particularly among African American residents and households with school-aged children.
- Increasing the quality and capacity of neighborhood organizations, Community Development Corporations, and business associations to represent and respond to resident and other local stakeholder interests.
- Reducing vacancy rates and increase vibrancy of commercial corridors, especially in underserved neighborhoods
“We are calling it a Framework because — instead of focusing on developing one-off, siloed projects — we are putting forward a literal framework for development projects to achieve a set of goals,” said Otis Williams, executive director of the St. Louis Development Corporation (SLDC). “We will reorganize SLDC around implementing the strategies in the framework and will work in parallel with several other economic development planning initiatives currently underway within St. Louis.”
The plan also acknowledges economic impacts on the city’s African American residents, noting that they have “suffered decades of disinvestment and that the city is losing population due in large part to a loss of African American residents and families,” the news release said.
“Improving opportunities for African American St. Louisans is critical to stabilizing the City’s population and economy,” added Williams.
The public is invited to comment on the plan through Aug. 28. The final version will be presented to the Housing, Urban Development and Zoning Committee of St. Louis’ Board of Aldermen in the fall.
The plan was developed for SLDC by research and consulting firm Mass Economics.