Invest Atlanta won two Excellence in Economic Development awards at the 2018 International Economic Development Council (IEDC) annual conference held this week in Atlanta. IEDC's Excellence in Economic Development Awards program recognizes the world's best economic development programs and partnerships, and honors organizations and individuals for their efforts in creating positive change in urban, suburban and rural communities.
Invest Atlanta received a Bronze Excellence in Economic Development Award for its I-85 Alive Business Rapid Response project in the category of Business Retention and Expansion (BRE) Single Event. In addition, Invest Atlanta received a Bronze Excellence in Economic Development Award in the category of Equity and Diversity for its work within the Westside Tax Allocation District.
“It is an honor to have the work and dedication of the City’s economic development team recognized by the world’s most prestigious economic development organization,” said Dr. Eloisa Klementich, President and CEO of Invest Atlanta. “What makes it even more special is that we are being recognized for helping small businesses through a man-made disaster, and our efforts around equity in Atlanta’s Westside neighborhoods. We hope other economic development agencies around the world can learn from these efforts and implement similar initiatives in their own communities.”
"This year our judges reviewed some extraordinary projects that advanced both communities and businesses,” said Craig Richard, CEcD, FM, President and CEO, Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation, and 2018 IEDC Board Chair. “We congratulate all the award winners, and thank everyone who nominated their projects for sharing their success with fellow IEDC members. What we learn from each other helps us to grow and advance as a profession. We look forward to even greater participation from economic developers across the globe in the 2019 awards program.”
I-85 Alive Business Rapid Response – 2018 IEDC Bronze Excellence in Economic Development Award: Business Retention and Expansion (BRE) Single Event
Invest Atlanta mobilized to support businesses affected by the March 2017, I-85 overpass fire in Atlanta. An I-85 Alive Small Business Resource Event gave business owners an opportunity to meet with local service providers and assess their options. At the event, Invest Atlanta's partners offered attendees technical assistance, information about business loans, consulting, and other resources. Featured partners came from more than a dozen business and community organizations, including the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Small Business Development Center, private banks, WorkSource Atlanta, and City officials. Additionally, in partnership with Lyft, transportation options and discounts were offered to make it easier for workers and patrons to access affected businesses. For businesses located within a 1-mile radius of the closure, most merchants experienced immediate declines in economic activity when the road closed, followed by a rebound in sales after I-85 reopened.
Westside Tax Allocation District (TAD) – 2018 IEDC Bronze Excellence in Economic Development Award: Equity & Inclusion
In 1992, the City of Atlanta, Fulton County, and the Atlanta School Board established the Westside Tax Allocation District (TAD) to spur public and private investment in the neighborhoods west of Downtown Atlanta. Invest Atlanta redoubled these efforts in 2013 through a planning process that engaged more than 300 community stakeholders, focusing on the historic neighborhoods of Vine City, English Avenue, and portions of Castleberry Hill.
As the City of Atlanta’s economic development agency, Invest Atlanta has focused on increasing equity and inclusion through positive redevelopment within the Westside TAD and administering the tax allocation district financing process. These investments have helped to nurture a more vibrant and connected community by enhancing Downtown tourism and building an entertainment core; creating and retaining jobs; building a vibrant office and retail core; supporting mixed-income housing; and improving transportation and pedestrian access.