Continue to transform downtown into a more vibrant community that is economically diverse, equitable, inclusive, sustainable, dynamic, beautiful and resilient.
Our mission within economic development aligns with the values of our organization to help build a downtown that has something for everyone. We have identified the core competencies of our department to include three goal areas as our core categories.
Data & Information – Collect it, manage it, analyze it, be a strong resource for it
Community Organizing – Facilitate meetings, make connections, collaborate, be available
Main Street – Be involved, support entrepreneurship, small business, beautification
In our second year of Economic Development, we continued to build upon the achievements of our first year by focusing on our three established goals and six strategic initiatives.
Managing downtown data and information has emerged as one of our greatest strengths by becoming a strong resource hub of knowledge and collector of statistics. In the next year, we will be implementing a more robust database management system to further enhance our capabilities.
Some of our accomplishments in this goal area include compiling a report of the top 30 assessment payers representing 347 parcels and 63% of the overall BID budget, developing proficiency using ArcGIS to access Environmental Systems Research Institute data, and conducting another FlashVote survey that was sent out to the greater Reno area—receiving over 630 responses. We also launched an Economic Development section of our website to provide easier access to our development map and downtown stats.
We continue to maintain strong relationships with community partners, local government agencies, downtown stakeholders, and other industry experts. We have a substantial network and expanding sphere of influence that helps us add value to important downtown discussions. Working with organizations like the Nevada Small Business Development Center allows us to better assist our downtown businesses, and maintaining connections with local developers and property managers keeps us in the conversation about new projects.
A few highlights in the last year of community organizing include over 186 meetings, calls and webinars, sending 131 letters to new property owners, and welcoming a dozen new businesses. Our monthly economic development committee and regional partners meetings have also become a vital resource for knowledge sharing and status updates.
As an active affiliate of Nevada Main Street, we collaborate with towns throughout the state and have regular access to partners in the Governor’s Office of Economic Development. In addition to renewed placemaking and beatification efforts through our Urban Main Street program, we also have a new focus on ecosystem building and advocating for entrepreneurship programs and support organizations like 1 Million Cups and StartupNV.
Examples of recent successes for our Main Street goal area were the completion of a beatification project on ReTRAC that created Locomotion Plaza, convincing Whitney Peak to paint the façade of the old Vino’s Lounge building, and helping property owners connect with the City of Reno to access EPA grant funds. We also received another placemaking grant from Nevada Main Street in the amount of $30,000 to be used for new lighting on Locomotion Plaza.
During the pandemic, we shifted gears to focus on providing assistance for downtown businesses in the form of knowledge, information and technical assistance. We became a supporting member of the Nevada Business Information Network, which created a central hub of state information and resources. We participated in dozens of webinars to help us become experts on the Economic Injury Disaster Loan, Paycheck Protection Program and Restaurant Revitalization Fund as well as other components of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act and the American Rescue Plan Act. We reached out to and spoke directly to business owners to learn about their struggles and inform them about available resources.
The economic development efforts of the Downtown Reno Partnership have proven to be a catalyst for transformation that has been years in the making. We recognize that there is still much work to be done and our current momentum creates a great opportunity to accelerate the creation of a vibrant urban environment where people love to live, work, and play.