Advisory Services and Research Projects
Neighborhood Development & Revitalization
IEDC Technical Assistance to the Weed and Seed Program—U.S. Department of Justice (1997-2009)
IEDC fulfilled several multi-year contracts with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to provide economic development assistance to DOJ Weed & Seed sites across the country. The Weed & Seed program “weeds out” criminal elements in a community and “seeds in” economic and social development assistance.
IEDC utilized its peer-review process to assist over 30 communities with economic development assessments and development of short, medium and long term recommendations for economic development success. Topic areas covered as part of the assessments included:
• Strategic planning,
• Business retention and recruitment programs,
• Forging strategic partnerships,
• Retail and housing development
• Workforce development, and
• ormation of programs dealing with blighted and vacant property.
IEDC provided assistance to the following communities.
Great Falls Assessment (2009)
Location, Great Falls, MT
IEDC worked with the Great Falls Development Authority (GFDA), NeighborWorks and the City of Great Falls to conduct a strategic assessment of the downtown and provide recommendations to improve the downtown. Two separate Weed and Seed sites (one graduated and one current) were assessed as part of this project. IEDC assessment was used as a critical input for the development of a downtown revitalization plan for Great Falls.
Indian Economic Development Initiative (2008 - 2009)
Locations: Leech Lake, MN and Keewanaw Bay, MI
As part of a team comprising First Nations Oweesta Corporation, IEDC and Dr. Ted Jojola of University of New Mexico, IEDC conducted community planning and strategic economic development assessments to enhance legal infrastructure and business development in Indian Weed and Seed sites. The assessments focused on overall economy in the reservations and provided recommendations on economic diversification; small business and entrepreneurial development; business attraction, retention and expansion; workforce development; marketing; strategic planning; real estate development and reuse; and youth development.
Paradise South Assessment (2008)
Location: Modesto, CA
Paradise South Weed and Seed neighborhood requested IEDC assistance in conducting an overall economic development assessment and help prioritize the development of programs and policies for neighborhood economic development. IEDC team also looked at strategies for revitalizing a retail corridor on the north border of the Weed and Seed area, in addition to strategies for infrastructure improvements and workforce development.
Palms of Hallandale Beach Assessment (2008)
Location: Hallandale Beach, FL
IEDC provided assistance to the Palms of Hallandale Beach neighborhood on issues related to affordable housing, business attraction and workforce development. It was important for the neighborhood to develop strategies that maintain and nurture the string African-American culture in this neighborhood.
Ellis Heights Assessment (2007)
Location: Rockford, Illinois
IEDC provided technical assistance support to the Ellis Heights Weed and Seed neighborhood in western Rockford. The IEDC team recommended strategies and case examples for improving communications between various Weed and Seed stakeholders, developing stronger education and workforce programs, improvement to the housing stock, and retail and industrial development.
South Central Kingsport Assessment (2007)
Location: Kingsport, Tennessee
South Central Weed and Seed site in Kingsport, TN received IEDC technical assistance services including recommendations on improving home ownership and related services for Weed and Seed residents, especially the elderly and senior citizens; encouraging small businesses to locate in the area and serve unmet needs of the residents; and, workforce development through better integration of the high school and community college to provide skills training in various identified target areas.
Northside Community Assessment (2007)
Location: Birmingham, Alabama
For Birmingham’s Northside Community Weed and Seed site, IEDC’s team assessed the economic development situation and made recommendations on improving the quality and appearance of housing stock, rental housing challenges, physical development of the area, and on workforce development.
Urban Rock Hill Assessment (2007)
Location: Rock Hill, South Carolina
IEDC’s work in Rock Hill followed previous IEDC work to prepare an economic development plan for the City’s urban core. For this assignment, IEDC provided strategic direction for the revitalization of the Hagins-Fewell neighborhood. Recommendations in the IEDC report focused on property redevelopment of a commercial corridor, improving the housing stock while maintaining neighborhood character, workforce development strategies for neighborhood residents, and assisting existing community organizations in building capacity to perform more strategic neighborhood restoration activities.
Center City Assessment (2007)
Location: Millville, New Jersey
IEDC prepared a comprehensive neighborhood revitalization technical assistance report for the Millville Weed & Seed site. Recommendations focus on workforce development, housing rehabilitation and homeownership, small business and entrepreneurship, enhancing resources and partnerships, and youth development. Each recommendation includes specific strategies and examples of successful programs in other cities.
Lima Weed and Seed Assessment (2005)
Location: Lima, Ohio
IEDC prepared community revitalization recommendations for Lima, Ohio as the city prepares for new industrial development in its Weed and Seed site. The IEDC report focuses on neighborhood industrial redevelopment, workforce development strategies, community capacity development, and housing revitalization. Final Report includes cases studies and best practices.
Utica Weed and Seed Assessment (2005)
Location: Utica, New York IEDC assisted the Utica Weed and Seed site in developing an economic development plan, with a focus on retail revitalization in the site’s commercial corridors. IEDC staff and expert members conducted a site visit with community residents, development professionals, business owners, city officials, and others to assess the business and retail conditions in the site. IEDC prepared a report with recommendations on strategies to attract and grow local businesses in the area.
West Newlove Assessment (2005)
Location: Santa Maria, California
IEDC worked with West Newlove Weed & Seed on strategies to enhance economic development and social service provision throughout Santa Maria. The city was undergoing a variety of demographic and economic transitions that required additional resources and innovative development concepts. An IEDC panel visited with various government, business and community representatives. Recommendations included constructing career ladders for the agricultural workforce, promoting financial literacy among aspiring entrepreneurs and identifying future industrial and residential development opportunities.
Poughkeepsie Weed and Seed Assessment (2004)
Location: Poughkeepsie, New York
IEDC assisted the City of Poughkeepsie Weed & Seed with strategies to stabilize and revitalize an historic Main Street corridor and an adjacent residential neighborhood. The city was in the process of re-establishing Main Street as a commercial and cultural center that provided employment and quality of life benefits for its residents. An IEDC team traveled to Poughkeepsie and collected information from a variety of local government, business and economic development professionals, among others. Recommendations in IEDC’s final report included code enforcement strategies, homeownership goals, and measures to broaden Main Street’s market appeal.
Wichita Weed and Seed Assessment (2004)
Location: Wichita Falls, Texas
IEDC assisted Wichita Falls Weed & Seed in its efforts to revitalize and redevelop the East Side. Once a thriving predominantly African American community, the East Side experienced years of decline and disinvestment. An IEDC team conducted a series of discussions and information-collecting sessions with various community leaders and representatives. A final report included recommendations on organizational development, information management strategies, redevelopment potential and workforce development initiatives.
Anderson Neighborhood Assessment (2004)
Location: Bristol, Tennessee
The Anderson Neighborhood Weed and Seed site sought to strengthen commercial development along State Street, the principal corridor in the target area. IEDC recommended measures that would help attract, retain and expand businesses in the area, as well as steps to cultivate entrepreneurship training and capacity. The final report focused on funding for at-risk businesses, tax increment financing and initiating land assembly.
Village of Washington Park Assessment (2001)
Location: Washington Park, Illinois
IEDC assessed economic development issues and local capacity for the Village of Washington Park Weed & Seed, which is adjacent to East St. Louis, Illinois. IEDC focused on basic issues including business climate and municipal governance, which would help to stabilize the community’s existing business climate.
Savannah Weed and Seed Assessment (2001)
Location: City of Savannah, Georgia
IEDC conducted an extensive examination of Savannah’s Weed & Seed target area to identify possible strategies for commercial revitalization in its numerous commercial corridors as well as workforce development tactics for its unemployed, underemployed, and non-participating workers. At the end of the visit, IEDC staff discussed issues, assets, and policy tools with City staff. IEDC drafted an in-depth summary of these recommendations supplemented with case study research.
Euclid Weed and Seed Assessment (2001)
Location: Euclid, Ohio
IEDC assisted the City of Euclid to determine strategies for the re-use of the struggling Euclid Square Mall. The mall is located in the Euclid Weed & Seed site and has a significant economic impact on the surrounding area. IEDC investigated potential uses and proposed two most likely uses: redevelopment into a new type of retail center and redevelopment into a back office location. IEDC prepared a report that provided relevant data, best practices, practical recommendations, and funding resources for the re-use options.
Westside Coalition Assessment (2000)
Location: Tucson, Arizona
IEDC assisted Tucson’s Westside Coalition Weed & Seed with an overall economic development assessment. IEDC staff met with the members of the Westside Coalition Weed & Seed steering committee and the larger Tucson economic development community to discuss the issues, challenges, and barriers to the revitalization of the Westside Coalition Weed & Seed neighborhoods. IEDC found that the Westside Coalition Weed & Seed’s most pressing economic development needs revolved around organizational maturation, business development, workforce preparedness, and physical development issues. Recommendations for addressing these needs were outlined in a written report.
Rockingham Weed and Seed Assessment (2001)
Location: Rockingham, North Carolina
IEDC provided assistance to Rockingham Weed & Seed in two phases. The first phase included an economic assessment specifically focused on vacant and abandoned property, and the lack of basic retail goods and services in the target area. IEDC staff visited Rockingham and met with the Weed & Seed steering committee as well as community development stakeholders, public officials, property owners, and residents. Recommendations included neighborhood planning, training in community development, improving law enforcement, and property redevelopment. For Phase 2, IEDC prepared an action plan based on recommendations made in Phase 1.
Freeport Weed and Seed Assessment (2001)
Location: Freeport, Illinois
IEDC assisted Freeport Weed & Seed with an overall economic assessment and identification of a number of priority actions important for community development. The IEDC Advisory Services panel met with Freeport community leaders, business leaders, and city officials regarding their concerns about trends in business investment, unemployment, minority-owned businesses, and diminishing retail. IEDC identified two general avenues for action—municipal economic development and neighborhood community development. As a follow-up, IEDC assisted Freeport Weed & Seed with additional technical assistance focusing on commercial revitalization and small business and entrepreneurial development.
Horace Mann Area Assessment (2000)
Location: Gary, Indiana
IEDC visited Gary in the summer of 2000 to conduct an economic assessment of the Horace Mann Neighborhood. IEDC staff and panelists met with a variety of stakeholders interested in economic revitalization in the area. IEDC provided recommendations regarding increasing local and staff capacity for neighborhood and economic development, facilitating strategic community development planning, identifying commercial property redevelopment opportunities, and conducting market research.
West Ocala / North Magnolia Assessment (1999)
Location: West Ocala, Florida
IEDC visited Ocala and met with public, private, non-profit, and institutional sector leaders. IEDC provided strategies for the city and two non-profit organizations to structure a deal with a Dollar General store. IEDC prepared case studies to show different ways that various public, private, and non-profit organizations can work together to develop retail space.
East Chicago Weed and Seed Assessment (1999)
Location: East Chicago, Indiana
IEDC prepared a written economic assessment of the East Chicago Weed & Seed site with specific recommendations about strategies and actions for commercial revitalization throughout the target neighborhood. IEDC’s team of experts also assessed real estate redevelopment opportunities for the Indiana Harbor Central Business District. The Harbor’s physical condition has deteriorated due to the lack of financial investment.
Olinder Neighborhood Assessment (1999)
Location: San Jose, California
IEDC conducted an economic assessment for San Jose’s Olinder Weed & Seed in February 1999. Specifically, IEDC examined: overall economic conditions; area strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats; entrepreneurial support; real estate markets; and funding sources for public and private investment. In addition, IEDC conducted a one-day training course in neighborhood economic development for the city of San Jose’s Department of Parks, Recreation, and Neighborhood Services.
Carver Terrace Weed and Seed Assessment (1999)
Location: Washington, D.C.
IEDC assisted the Carver Terrace Weed & Seed program in Washington, D.C. with guidance on board development for a community development corporation. IEDC suggested the structure of the corporation’s strategic planning session and its anticipated products, while also helping with mission statement development.
Las Vegas Weed and Seed Assessment (1999)
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
IEDC provided recommendations to the Las Vegas Weed and Seed initiative on community organizing, improved linkages between businesses and financial institutions and strategic planning.
Dyersburg Weed and Seed Assessment (1998)
Location: Dyersburg, Tennessee
IEDC worked with the Dyersburg Weed and Seed, under a separate fee-for-service contract in May 1998. Dyersburg sought IEDC’s assistance in creating strategies for the revitalization of downtown Dyersburg and promoting entrepreneurial development in its four Weed & Seed neighborhoods. An IEDC expert panel visited and interviewed key stakeholders and recommended concrete economic development actions, such as building community and corporate partnerships and exploring reuse options for vacant public housing units.