Boise State University's football stadium

Multi-million dollar economic development projects being launched throughout the U.S.

May 24, 2024

Cities and counties throughout the U.S. are launching economic development initiatives that will generate new sources of revenue for government coffers. Projects of all types are currently underway, and many more initiatives designed to boost economic vitality are in the planning stages. Funding support is available from more than a dozen federal programs that offer financial assistance for efforts that result in job creation, public revenue generation, asset recycling and quality-of-life initiatives.

Most of these types of projects fall into the multi-million-dollar categories, and they all require private sector collaboration. Prime contractors are wise to add local subcontractors to their pursuit team. Examples of projects already scheduled follow.

Board members of the Port of Cleveland recently approved plans for a $100 million park project. The initiative is part of the city’s North Coast Master Plan, which outlines upcoming and ongoing projects that focus on creating a commercial and recreational hub along the shore of Lake Erie. The overall objective is to create revenue generation options, which will be done by revitalizing a 23-acre area.

The park project will include redesigning and redeveloping the 80-year-old shoreline area around the Cleveland Browns Stadium. When completed, the effort will facilitate various types of four-season recreation activities and sunset vistas will be available. A land bridge will be built to provide convenient access to the city’s downtown mall and areas for future development will be prepared. An environmental stabilization effort will be completed to remove 250,000 cubic yards of unstable soil from the area so that a new bulkhead along the riverbank can be created.

The project is currently in its design stage, and bidding for the construction work will happen later in 2024. Once additional funding has been acquired, other related projects within the North Coast Master Plan will be announced. When the project is completed, new businesses and many visitors will be able to enjoy the amenities, which will result in revenue increases for the city.

Council members in Missoula, Montana, recently approved $24.5 million for the Downtown SAM Project (Safety, Access, Mobility). City leaders will oversee work to upgrade riverfront accessibility, restore and reroute traffic on some streets and upgrade other areas of the city. While downtown Missoula has benefitted from significant investment in new construction over the past 10 years, streets and roadways have not been modernized. The planned improvements will improve access and circulation for downtown businesses, residents and tourists while creating safer streets for walking, biking, driving and public transportation. A feasibility study projected that the initiative should return $5 of economic benefit or savings for every dollar invested. The project is currently in the design phase, and construction is slated for 2026.

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation and the city of Northampton will collaborate on a major reconstruction project of Northampton’s Main Street. Using findings from a study conducted by Portland State University related to economic benefits available by revitalizing main streets, Northampton leaders hope to create an economic resurgence for the area. This $21 million project will span about half a mile in the heart of downtown, and the effort will include renovations to roads, sidewalks, civic spaces, traffic signals and utilities. The project will also include beautification work, such as tree planting to create an overhead canopy, adding benches and lighting upgrades. The design phase of the project will be completed in 2025, and solicitations will be released after that. Construction will begin in 2026.

City officials in Palm Coast, Florida, recently approved plans to develop 12,000 acres located west of U.S. Highway 1 near the Matanzas Woods Parkway area. With new funding from the Florida Department of Transportation, the effort will begin with a new $31 million connector road, also known as a flyover, to provide quicker access and incentivize future development and economic activities in Palm Coast and Flager County. The road will cross above the Florida East Coast railroad corridor and connect to the Matanzas Woods area, where new development is planned.

The connector road is being designed, and construction will be underway by 2026. The development effort will begin as soon as the roadwork has been completed. Access to the newly developed 12,000-acre Matanzas Woods Parkway area will result in significant new city revenue from taxes, tourism, and overall economic vitality and more details of that initiative will be available soon.

Officials at Boise State University in Idaho will upgrade the institution’s football stadium at a cost of $60 million. Project plans call for the removal of temporary seating on the north end of the stadium and the replacement of premium seating. New seats in private suites will be installed at the field level, and 850 extra open-air seats will also be added.

Additionally, the east concourse will be extended with new entrances, concessions space and other upgraded facilities. Significant new revenue will flow to the university from ticket sales and the city will benefit from an increase in activities related to game weekends. Solicitations for the work will begin in late 2024.

Economic development organizations in every region are eager to find ways to upgrade public assets, and city and county officials benefit when projects result in revenue-producing options that enhance city coffers.

Photo courtesy of Boise State University

Mary Scott Nabers

Mary is President/CEO of Strategic Partnerships, Inc. (SPI), a business development/public affairs firm that specializes in procurement consulting, market research, government affairs, knowledge transfer and public-private partnerships (P3s). Mary is also co-founder of the Gemini Global Group (G3), a firm that works with national and international clients on business development, P3s, and other types of government objectives.

A recognized expert regarding P3s, Mary is the author of Collaboration Nation – How Public-Private Ventures Are Revolutionizing the Business of Government and Inside the Infrastructure Revolution – A Roadmap for Rebuilding America.

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