Volume 11, Issue 19 - Wednesday, May 15, 2019
Mary Scott Nabers, President/CEO, Strategic Partnerships, Inc.

Cities throughout the United States are announcing revitalization projects. The trend is strong - so strong, in fact, that it's hard to find a state without a number of cities either in the planning or launching stages of rebuilding their urban cores. These types of initiatives have common components, and they all have a need for private sector contractors, investors and/or partners.
Downtown revitalization projects include some mix of entertainment venues, retail establishments, multimodal transportation, affordable housing and outdoor areas that are conducive to walking and shopping. Safe downtowns with thriving businesses and residential developments create places where people want to live, work, shop, eat and gather for recreation and entertainment. Vibrant downtown areas greatly enhance city tax revenues.

City leaders often start the process by seeking out non-revenue producing property that can become a part of a revitalization effort. According to the International Downtown Association, a majority of vibrant downtowns contain about 3 percent of citywide land and produce 14 percent of retail, food and beverage businesses and 35 percent of all hotel rooms. Those percentages can generate as much as $53 million in sales tax per square mile. Since that amount is nearly 10 times the citywide average, it's understandable why there are so many revitalization projects being planned.

City officials often seek partnerships with developers willing to help create new and innovative downtown destinations. New infrastructure projects, such as landscaped medians, parking garages, pedestrian walkways, traffic improvements, decorative lighting, and enhanced public Wi-Fi, are all coveted parts of successful redeveloped downtowns. A signature park, venue or convention center is also a great way to anchor revitalization efforts.

Check out the latest article from our Texas Government Insider Newsletter!
Washington, D.C. - The Department of Defense (DoD) is pushing forward on outsourcing its military moving process. According to the U.S. Transportation Command (TRANSCOM), the DoD expects to issue a  request for bids by June 21 and award the contract by Jan. 1, 2020. The DoD wants to hire a single company to manage the system responsible for permanent change-of-station (PCS) moves. TRANSCOM wants a "single move manager" by the summer of 2021. The private company would build networks within the moving industry and oversee contractors. The contract could be worth more than $3 billion. 
During the most recent PCS seasons, military families reported numerous problems with their moves, from loss and breakage to theft and lengthy delays in transfer. Nearly 105,000 military family members called for improvements to the system last year in an online petition. Forty-two regional military offices are responsible for contracting with moving companies. Each household move is contracted individually, with approximately 450,000 military moves taking place every year. 
Romney Hall
In Montana, the governor signed multiple bills approving $400 million in funding for infrastructure. The legislation signed on May 10 includes money for repairing 14 bridges and 51 water, wastewater and sewer projects.

Other signed legislation includes one approving $80 million in infrastructure bonds for projects such as $25 million in renovations to Romney Hall at Montana State University, a dental hygiene lab at Great Falls College and backlogged maintenance at state buildings. The funding comes as part of a larger effort of the Montana Legislature to invest in infrastructure. In 2019, the state legislature passed $2.7 billion in infrastructure projects.
Texas - The city of Mission's Rail Bridge Action Committee authorized city staff May 6 to put together a request for qualifications (RFQ) for an environmental study on the Madero bridge project. City Council members will review the final RFQ document.

A Houston-based firm developed a study for a standard bridge used by cars and commercial vehicles that estimated the project cost at $144 million; however, Mission Mayor Armando "Doc" O'cana is seeking a railroad bridge.
Bult Field
Illinois - A move for a third Chicago-area airport is gaining traction backed by Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) support and waning Chicago O'Hare International Airport cargo business.

The South Suburban Airport is proposed for the site of Bult Field in Monee, which the state bought for $34 million in 2014. Since 2002, the state's transportation department has spent almost $100 million to purchase about 4,500 acres of the 5,800 acres necessary for the airport initially.

Regional leaders envision the state providing the land, a government entity operating the airport and a private developer paying for construction. Part of their plan hinges on the state appropriating $150 million for infrastructure improvements.
Southeast view of proposed park
California - The City of San Diego plans to start the bid solicitation process in late summer for a $46 million downtown park. The proposed 4.1-acre East Village Green will sit between F and G Streets stretching from 13th Street to 15th Street.

Some of the features of the new park include: 
  • An 8,500-square-foot children's play area with an interactive water feature and play equipment;
  • An 820-square-foot, shaded performance pavilion for outdoor performances;
  • An 11,000-square-foot multi-purpose lawn that is surrounded by sitting areas and table tennis;
  • A 14,200-square-foot, two-story neighborhood community center. The building will house a half basketball court that doubles as an auditorium, a demonstration kitchen for cooking classes, a yoga studio, city staff offices, public restrooms and other community spaces. It will be programmed by the city's parks and recreation department. 
  • A paid parking garage with 185 spaces underneath the west block;
  • Separate-but-adjacent off-leash dog parks; and,
  • Two cafe buildings operated by a third-party vendor. 
The city hopes to begin construction by early 2021. Renderings and phase development plans can be seen here.
Tyron Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant
Oregon - City Council members in Lake Oswego hired a consulting firm to help issue a request for proposals (RFP) to establish a public-private partnership to replace the Tyron Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Lake Oswego contracts for wastewater services from the plant, which is owned by the city of Portland. The Portland Bureau of Environmental Services recommends a 50-50 split between the two cities to invest $130 million to repair or replace technology in the facility that was built in 1965.

According to Portland documents, the plant is aging and must be upgraded to meet stricter treatment standards, accommodate higher flows, improve plant reliability and resiliency, and to capture and treat odorous air. That city's Environmental Services Department had begun the process of designing and constructing these improvements but ceased its efforts while Lake Oswego assessed the feasibility of a new treatment plant that would take up less space and meet upgrade goals.

City officials at Lake Oswego say they are scheduled to meet with the consulting firm May 23 and hope to publish the RFP in July that would require 30 percent designs from three bidding firms.
University of Washington Medical Center
Washington - State legislators recently approved a two-year $4.9 billion capital budget that focuses on projects in areas of behavioral health, affordable housing, education and the environment. The budget includes $927 million to construct facilities at public colleges and universities. The University of Washington Medical Center will receive $32 million for the predesign, planning and design of a new, 150-bed behavioral health teaching facility. 
The 80,748-square-foot facility will house the exercise sciences, clinical physiology, nutrition, paramedicine and public health programs. Pending Gov. Jay Inslee's signature, the university will go out for bid in August, with construction happening between October 2019 and September 2021. 
The university also received $5 million to start the initial design phase of a renovation and expansion of Nicholson Pavilion, which will provide more space for the department of physical education, school health and movement studies. Once the budget is approved, the university will spend the next two years working with an architectural firm on the details. The university plans to go back to the Legislature in 2021 to ask for the $60 million required to do the project. 
Buffalo Skyway
New York - Applicants are being sought for the fourth round of a contest that awards state funds for cities and towns whose leaders are looking to revitalize downtown areas. Applications for the Downtown Revitalization Initiative are due to the Long Island Regional Economic Development Council by May 31. One winner from each of the state's 10 regions will receive $10 million to support work to revitalize its urban core. Applicants will be judged on eight factors including the compactness of the downtown area, future job growth, proximity to housing and strategy for redevelopment. 
Gov. Andrew Cuomo also has announced that applications are due by June 28 for a national design competition to solicit the best idea for an alternative to the Skyway Corridor. The highway bridge is outdated and an aging infrastructure that separates the city from its waterfront. The competition, administered by the Empire State Development Office and Department of Transportation, is open to architects, community planners, design firms and urban planners. Panelists will review the proposals based on several criteria including cost, impact on traffic patterns and timeframe. The winner will be given a $100,000 prize. Second place wins $50,000, and third place collects $25,000. 
The Skyway recently underwent repairs on the inbound side last summer. In March, the New York State Department of Transportation began construction on the outbound lanes. The cost of its repairs is around $30 million. The Skyway was designed with a 110-foot clearance to accommodate industrial work on the Buffalo River. Today, the Buffalo River is primarily used as a recreational waterway, and the elevated highway is no longer necessary. An alternative design of this highway would showcase waterfront land that isn't currently accessible.
Kansas - The Kansas State Fair Board recently approved an outline for a request for qualifications (RFQ) or request for proposals (RFP) for an "upscale branded hotel."

The hotel would be on the fairgrounds and adjacent to roughly 80,000 square feet of exhibition space at the Meadowlark/Sunflower building complex. Attaching the hotel to the Pride of Kansas building would increase exhibition space to more than 100,000 square feet.

A developer would be responsible for building, financing, operating, and maintaining the hotel and would be in a long-term ground lease with the State Fair. The State Fair would expect a percentage of revenues and a guaranteed base rent, but the hotel would not be subject to property taxes.

Kansas Department Administration, the agency responsible for issuing and evaluating the request, will decide when to issue the request after meeting with the State Fair General Manager after July 1.
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Michigan - Birmingham City Commissioners are putting a $57.4 million bond before voters in August for a parking structure that would be part of a proposed downtown redevelopment at North Old Woodward Avenue and Bates Street.

City officials are considering a development proposal of the North Old Woodward parking structure that could result in the construction of a new seven-story building that would add hundreds of parking spaces to the city's system. In addition, the proposal being considered would incorporate developments of nearby sites envisioned in 1996 as part of the Downtown Birmingham 2016 Plan.

As it stands now, the city's plan calls for demolishing an existing parking structure and replacing it with a new facility that would hold more than 400 parking spaces. The developer would fund private portions of the site, and the city would purchase and own the structure and public park area that encircles it.

Birmingham's city manager and commissioners said residents would not be taxed for the costs. Instead, the remainder of the costs and repayment would all come from the parking system's reserve funds, and user fees will pay off the debt.
Mayo Civic Center
Minnesota - The city of Rochester has issued a request for proposals (RFP) for the management of operations of the Mayo Civic Center. From the list of RFP applicants, city officials will select a corporation which will oversee the operations of the Mayo Civic Center and Destination Marketing Operations, which previously were the responsibility of the Convention and Visitors Bureau later known as Experience Rochester. It is expected that the transition to the new management structure will be completed by the end of this year.  
The deadline for the submission of all proposals is July 26. Interested parties must attend a mandatory pre-proposal conference on May 22 that will include a review of the RFP, a question-and-answer session and a tour of the Mayo Civic Center.
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North Carolina - Gov. Roy Cooper shared the news on May 8 that the state will provide $9.8 million for new broadband services in rural areas of the state. The state's Broadband Infrastructure Office will distribute the funds to more than 20 providers who are anticipated to reach 9,800 residences and 590 businesses in nearly 19 counties. Earlier this year, Cooper created a task force to increase internet access as part of a larger $35 program.

North Carolina joins several states that are pursuing rural broadband initiatives, including Washington, Oregon, Virginia and Indiana. An estimated 30 million people in the United States lack high-speed internet access, an issue that the Federal Communications Commission hopes to address with a proposed $20.4 billion fund set to be formalized later this year.
Trowbridge Dam
Michigan - The State Legislature has approved $8.35 million in funding to support dam removal and repair projects in the state with more than 2,600 dams many of which are deteriorating.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) - through its Dam Management Grant Program - will distribute $350,000 through the program this year and provide a one-time appropriation of $8 million to fund five dam removal and repair projects in the state.

Projects set to receive funds are: Manistique Paper Inc. Dam removal for $3 million; removal of the Trowbridge Dam on the Kalamazoo River for $2.94 million; Union Street Dam removal for $1.65 million; $410,725 for repair of the Cornwall Impoundment dam structure; and $348,500 to remove a steel sheeting dam on Portage Creek at Milham Park.

The state's Dam Management Grant Program is funded by General Fund dollars appropriated by the Michigan Legislature. This funding will be available in the next cycle through the new Fisheries Habitat Grant. DNR officials expect to announce a request for proposals for this grant at the end of July.
Stoughton Station
Massachusetts - The city of Stoughton's Board of Selectmen reviewed several options at its May 7 meeting on what to do with the historic Stoughton Station train depot the city purchased last year from the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA). Stoughton was a MBTA commuter rail station and terminus of the Stoughton branch of the Providence/Stoughton line.

One board member said the town would issue a request for proposals from developers and business owners once it officially acquires the title for the train depot.

Washington, D.C. - Nicole Nason was sworn in May 2 as the 20th administrator of the Federal Highway Administration under the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT). Nason was confirmed by the U.S. Senate by a 95-1 vote. She previously served as assistant secretary of the Bureau of Administration at the U.S. Department of State and as administrator of USDOT's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration from 2006-200 and assistant secretary for government affairs from 2003-2006.

Oklahoma - University of Oklahoma President James Gallogly announced his plans to retire May 12. The 1977 alumnus and former Fortune 500 company CEO took office in July 2018 to become the university's 14th president. Gallogly informed the Board of Regents that he will leave office once they have a transition plan in place.

California - Julie Kirschbaum accepted the appointment of director of transit at the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA). Kirschbaum will oversee the direction and management of the agency's transit division. She has been in an acting role as transit director since October. Her more than 20 years of transportation experience includes managing SFMTA's Transit Planning and Scheduling group and envisioning and implementing a system-wide redesign known as the Transit Effectiveness Project that later became Muni Forward. Before joining the agency, Kirschbaum worked as a senior transportation planner with the San Francisco County Transportation Authority and a private sector consultant.

Michigan - The state of Michigan has named Jack Harris as its chief technology officer (CTO) after he served in an interim role for 10 months after Rod Davenport resigned. Harris will direct the state's technology management processes in his new role. Before taking on these positions, he led the state's enterprise architecture and network strategies at the department of technology, management and budget for seven years and telecommunications division for nine years.

North Carolina - Sherry Wilborn will helm the Person County Economic Development Commission as its new economic development director. Wilborn has been the North Carolina EDC's interim director since 2018 and on staff since 2003. She will tout new business and industry opportunities to prospective businesses and advocate for existing businesses. Wilborn successfully supported one corporation's expansion that brought $35 million in investment and 384 new jobs to the county.

Florida - Monte Falls will take over as Vero Beach's new city manager after serving in an interim capacity since March. Falls, who replaces Jim O'Connor who retired in March, has held various positions at Vero Beach for 28 years, including 15 years as the city's public works director.

Alabama - Marshall J. Taggart Jr. is the Montgomery Airport Authority's newest executive director, starting May 15. The authority had been without an executive director since 2016, but Taggart replaces interim director Bob Hendrix who is the airport's fire chief. Taggart's aviation industry experience spans two decades including time as the deputy airport director at the DeKalb Peachtree Airport in Georgia and in the private sector as national director for airport business. He also managed Tallahassee Regional Airport (now an international airport) as its deputy aviation director.

California - Officials at the California Department of Technology announced on May 7 that Peter Liebert will be leaving his post as California's cybersecurity chief of three years. Liebert served as both chief information security officer (CISO) and director of the Office of Information Security. Previously, he served as an officer and civilian at the United States Cyber Command and the Office of the Secretary of Defense Cyber Policy division.

Florida - Monte Falls will take over as Vero Beach's new city manager after serving in an interim capacity since March. Falls, who replaces Jim O'Connor who retired in March, has held various positions at Vero Beach for 28 years, including 15 years as the city's public works director.

California - The city of Pasadena named Laura Cornejo as its new transportation director to succeed Fred Dock, who retired after 12 years of service. Cornejo's first day is scheduled for June 3. Her 17 years of experience in municipal, regional and state government include tenures as the deputy executive officer of countywide planning at the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LA Metro) and interim director of transportation and manager of strategic planning and intergovernmental relations with the city of Montebello.

Florida - Mike McNees is set to become Marco Island's new city manager pending contract agreement with the city. McNees' previous city management experience was with the city of Melbourne, Fla. He is likely to start in August to replace interim city manager David Harden.

California - Dorothy Leland, chancellor at the University of California, Merced, on May 13, effective Aug. 15. The university's Board of Regents appointed Leland as chancellor in 2011. She previously served as Georgia College & State University for seven years. UC President Janet Napolitano said she will begin a national search to find a new chancellor.

Missouri - Alex Braszko, former U.S. Army lieutenant colonel, has taken command as the new chief innovation officer at the city of Kansas City, Mo. In his 21 years with the Army, Braszko worked in space operations and military intelligence. Under the Veterans Local Government Fellowship Program, he transitioned from military service into a four-month civilian fellowship with the city. Braszko takes over for Bob Bennett who left to work at an urban development think tank.
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