No community can sustain itself unless it is able to provide employment and income for its residents, and generate tax revenues sufficient to provide an appropriate level of public services. It should also develop in ways that maintain the value of the existing built environment and preserve those aspects of the community valued by residents.
It is important that new development complement existing community resources, and that it provide benefits that exceed its costs. It is important that Kent have a continuously evolving definition of sustainable economic development, and that its public policies encourage desirable development and discourage that which is not desirable.
Support and sustain a viable central business district (CBD).
Develop incentives that encourage continued investment in the Central Business District (CBD). Review zoning and building regulations to make changes beneficial to the CBD.
Inventory the number of building renovations, new constructions, the occupancy of buildings, and the access to businesses in the CBD; review zoning and building regulations to make changes beneficial to the CBD.
Support and sustain office, retail and industrial nodes outside of the CBD.
Identify appropriate locations, provide zoning, planning and infrastructure; develop incentives that will encourage desired forms of development; review zoning and building regulations and make changes that will accommodate business without negatively affecting nearby non-commercial uses.
Inventory the number of building renovations, new constructions, occupancy of buildings, and the access to business outside the CBD.
Protect and utilize the historical character of the City.
Identify significant historic structures and districts and have them officially recognized as such; encourage adaptive reuses that will not compromise their historic value; review and revise building and zoning codes to assure protection of historic sites.
Monitor the condition and uses of historic sites, districts and buildings.
Develop Kent as a high technology research and manufacturing area.
Define high technology in ways appropriate to this community; create and implement a program to encourage high technology research and manufacturing in cooperation with Kent State University and other organizations.
Number of new and existing companies located in Kent and the number employed in high technology industries.
Support and sustain existing local businesses.
Create a business retention program that may include economic incentives for redevelopment and expansion; encourage local ownership; support the manufacture and sale of local goods and provide other assistance as needed.
Inventory businesses annually, determine current ownership, and assess expansion or contraction in cooperation with other public and private entities.
Encourage economic growth, development and redevelopment in the community that sustains or improves upon the quality of life; encourage mutually beneficial cooperative endeavors with other political subdivisions.
Assess new and existing businesses for impact on the quality of life; encourage and retain businesses that either produce recycled/reusable products or are considered to be less-polluting and more environmentally-friendly; resolve conflicts between residents and businesses as appropriate.
Number of businesses that meet minimum criteria (to be established) of sustaining or improving the quality of life.
Utilize tax abatement judiciously, to attract businesses with high quality jobs that are likely to remain in the area and contribute to economic health after abatement expires.
Review tax abatement policy and performance standards to include a measurement of community reinvestment (jobs, wages, and income tax generation), a standard to measure the quality of jobs created, retention after the tax-abated period and a formula to ensure that new businesses do not have an unfair advantage over existing businesses.
Success or failure of tax-abated companies in meeting performance standards; monitor impact of tax-abatement on fiscal health of school system.
Sustain an adequate and fair standard of living for all citizens.
Encourage alternative economic strategies, which allow the unemployed and underemployed to contribute their talents and services to the community; Support programs that improve the skills and work attitude of the labor force; Ensure accessibility to employment for all.
Unemployment rate and the proportion of jobs above the poverty level; create a plan for high quality job creation/retention.