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Poway's economic development office continues efforts to improve the city's business climate

It's been a busy year in Poway! The past year has brought many accomplishments for the city's redevelopment and economic development efforts. As Poway's Business Park tops the county in industrial absorption, the city's economic development office continues to complete the vision for the park and ensure economic vitality for its retail corridors.

Part of the vision for the Business Park was to attract a business-class hotel, which would provide an essential amenity to the Business Park. The city and the Redevelopment Agency purchased property and approved a disposition and development agreement early this year to bring such a hotel to the Business Park. The Hampton Inn and Suites could be complete as early as 2003 as a result of this action.

The reorganization of the Poway Business Park Association is another success story, which will continue to support long-term development of the park. The association, developed to support local business in the Business Park and provide a forum for problem solving, has achieved a membership base of more than 50 businesses within its first six months of existence. The group, in partnership with the Economic Development Office, Poway's Chamber of Commerce and Palomar College, recently held a forum to discuss international trade. Other topics to be discussed will include security, employment and labor laws, as well as economic updates.

As the Business Park continues to grow and thrive, Poway's Economic Development Office has turned its focus to Poway Road and the creation of a revitalization strategy that supports the needs of local businesses and residents.

Poway's "Road to Success" was kick-started this year with three workshops that brought the business and residential communities together to discuss the revitalization of Poway Road in a public forum. A survey was mailed to more than 5,000 people most affected by changes on Poway Road. Recommendations on ways to improve business and livability on and near Poway Road were developed by the community and will become the basis of a revitalization strategy currently under development.

"The goal of the workshop series was to develop a revitalization strategy that was responsive to the needs of the Poway Road businesses and neighboring residents," said Deborah Johnson, Poway's director of redevelopment services.

In response to public input from the workshops, more than $500,000 was appropriated from regional transportation funds to improve the safety and architectural image of Poway Road bus shelters. These shelters will provide needed lighting, safety from traffic and ornamental street furniture that will beautify Poway Road and encourage use of public transit in the main commercial districts.

Local businesses were supported and the overall image of Poway Road was improved as a result of the Commercial Rehabilitation Loan Program. Poway's Commercial Rehabilitation Program offers forgivable loans to businesses interested in completing improvements to the facade and exterior of their buildings. This program has successfully completed more than 25 such projects bringing the total amount of public investment to $1.2 million, leveraging $4.7 million private dollars over the life of the program. Targeted outreach to Poway Road property owners will continue in an effort to encourage additional improvements to older centers along Poway Road.

Poway's Economic Development program continues to work in partnership with its business community and the Poway Chamber of Commerce to build a cohesive approach to economic development.

Director Deborah Johnson explains that, "a partnership between the city and local business is paramount to a successful Economic Development Program."

Poway's Rehabilitation Loan Programs, Business Park Association and all redevelopment projects are based on the concept that "Poway invests in those who invest in Poway." This approach not only leverages public dollars but it ensures a strong market environment where private business is the prime economic driver for the community.

For more information about Poway's Economic Development Program, call (858) 679-4372.

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