The National League of Cities (NLC) has selected MARC’s First Suburbs Coalition — a group of 19 communities in Greater Kansas City — for a new economic development pilot project. MARC applied for the award on behalf of the coalition, with the cities of Mission, Kansas, and Gladstone, Missouri, as lead agencies.
The NLC award, called the First Tier Suburbs Council Economic Development Pilot Project, will provide technical assistance to member cities in the First Suburbs Coalition, including data analysis and economic development insights from economic and business advisory firm TIP Strategies, Inc.
“We plan to use this unique opportunity to focus on housing issues in first-tier suburbs, including affordability, choice and neighborhood stabilization,” said Kristin Inman, co-chair of the First Suburbs Coalition and a member of the Mission City Council. “Housing is critical to economic development because it impacts access to jobs and education and our quality of life.”
While affordable housing has long been seen as a significant asset in the Kansas City region, communities across the metro are beginning to raise concerns about rising housing costs. First-tier suburbs face unique housing challenges, as most of their housing stock was built shortly after World War II and they are often hemmed in by outer-ring suburbs, with little or no undeveloped land for new, more modern housing units.
“Across the nation, rising housing costs are affecting the economic development opportunities in a wide variety of communities, including first-tier suburbs,” said Clarence Anthony, CEO and executive director of the National League of Cities. “The National League of Cities is excited to work with MARC and the First Suburbs Coalition on this pilot program to develop strategies that address housing affordability on a regional level. Our goal is to share these best practices to help other communities learn how to navigate challenges to long-term economic success.”
The project will culminate with a housing summit for community leaders in July, which will provide concrete ideas to address housing needs in cities across the region.
"In our work across the U.S., we increasingly see the impact of housing affordability on our nation's cities and suburbs," said Jeff Marcell, principal at TIP Strategies. "This NLC pilot program was created to bring together local leaders and stakeholders to identify a collaborative path forward. We are excited about this opportunity to work with MARC to address the region's housing challenges and to explore potential solutions."
NLC and MARC will convene initial meetings between First Suburbs Coalition members and the TIP Strategies team in March to launch the pilot project.
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About the First Suburbs Coalition: Formed in 2002 to help inner-ring communities work together to address common challenges related to housing, economic development and infrastructure, the First Suburbs Coalition includes representatives from the cities of Gladstone, Grandview, Independence, Kansas City, North Kansas City, Raytown, Riverside and Sugar Creek in Missouri, and Fairway, Kansas City, Merriam, Mission, Mission Hills, Mission Woods, Overland Park, Prairie Village, Roeland Park, Westwood and Westwood Hills in Kanas. marc.org/firstsuburbs
About the National League of Cities: NLC is a membership organization dedicated to helping city leaders build better communities. Working in partnership with the 49 state municipal leagues, NLC serves as a resource to and an advocate for the more than 19,000 cities, villages and towns it represents. The mission of the National League of Cities is to strengthen and promote cities as centers of opportunity, leadership and governance. www.nlc.org
About TIP Strategies : TIP STRATEGIES, INC. (TIP) is a privately held Austin-based firm providing consulting and advisory services to public and private sector clients. Established in 1995, the firm’s core competence in strategic planning for economic development has broadened to include expertise in talent strategies and in organizational development. www.tipstrategies.com