Business and Downtown
What can we do about promoting businesses in our city and jobs in Upland?
Businesses are a vital part of our city. I have suggested that we hire an Economic Development Director to bring in quality businesses to fill the many vacancies and promote Upland. We need to work closely with the Chamber to encourage business, but the city also needs to support the businesses through follow up and support. We need more places that the businesses can sign up online and streamline the process. We could streamline the process by having a case manager spearhead them through the process.
I would support special enterprise zoning that encourages new businesses to go into blighted areas. I support creating new jobs in our city with a Local Hire Program. On capital projects for the city, people out of work can sign up for training for free and through a local hire ordinance work on these jobs. We also need to hire our own Uplander’s with Small Business Enterprise, Minority Business Enterprise and Women’s Business Enterprise in our city. We need to also encourage more blue collar jobs as well. A study was done by Upland staff in the southwest by the border of Claremont. This area has been recommended for biotech industries. We need to promote BIOTECH, RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT, AND CLEAN INDUSTRIES and the infrastructure needed for this area. Being so close to the Claremont Colleges would be a great area for these types of jobs.
We need to build trust with the businesses and build back a reputation that has been fractured by inattentive staff or inflexible rules in our city. The businesses are the city’s tax base and a vital part of the economy. We are all a part of the city and need to work together to make this a successful and enjoyable endeavor!
How can we be more business friendly?
Both small and large businesses have been discouraged by Upland’s inattentiveness to their potential new business. Many have left the city and gone to other cities because of Upland not being business friendly. Many others have left after having a business in Upland and said that they would never return because of Upland City Hall being so unfriendly.
We need to streamline the processes when potential new businesses come to the city. We need one person to spearhead them through the process. A single case manager at city hall should be assigned to the applicant throughout the process that should take their applications to the various committees to expedite plan checks to facilitate their project in a timely manner. Everything dealing with the process should be written online in a step by step process. In addition, we need to work more closely with the Chamber of Commerce to promote healthier business practices.
How will you help revitalize our downtown?
Our city currently has 39 beauty salons, too many offices and too few retail stores to shop. In studying other downtowns, I have found successful downtowns have a special ordinance where they require 80% retail. Bringing in housing around the town center will help the downtown grow as well. (The Economic Director should be assigned to getting balanced good business in the downtown, with great restaurants and entertainment.)
Making our city a “Certified Local Government” could bring in grants to the downtown area to fix this area. This promotes a comprehensive approach to historic preservation at the local level which is based on federal and state standards for identification, evaluation, registration, and treatment of historical resources. It integrates preservation planning into the broader context of overall community land use planning and development processes. The plan is responsive to the particular needs and resources of each community and provides economic incentives for historic preservation.
Next, Lyons Development has proposed several hundred homes south of the railroad tracks that will attract the need for more services and shops in Upland. In the spring another developer suggested a work/live in the downtown which is a great idea.
It is imperative that we get the packing house owner on board to develop the packing house into either a work/live, (retail on the bottom and living on top) or a grocery store, movie theater, etc. The ideas are limitless!
We need to bring in Historic Preservation Tax incentives to help our downtown historic districts that are income-producing. Main Street needs to change from a 501C3 to a 501 C6 to be able to get any monies from the parking assessment. The city needs to be attentive to graffiti issues on storefronts and clean the sidewalks. The Main Street needs to work with the Chamber of Commerce.
We could also look into a certified farmers market to help the Thursday night market which offers local grown organic produce. We could have them come for free for a few months and encourage new people to come, then start charging after they have built more clientele.
We need to also look at the redevelopment area owned by the State on First Avenue that was a group of Victorian houses. (They were demolished and burned by the Fire Department for practice in the 1990’s.) We need to have a comprehensive approach and plan to develop meeting areas outside and buildings for retail, restaurants and entertainment. This should be a gathering place for our citizens. The plan for the entire downtown should not be piece-meal, but comprehensive.