Leveraging Public Assets: A New Mandate For Local Governments
The City of Newport recently launched the renovation and repurposing of the Sheffield School, a one-hundred-year-old surplus elementary school located on one of the City’s major thoroughfares. Named Innovate Newport, this project is part of a multipronged effort to leverage public assets to reposition Newport as a global leader in environmental and economic resiliency. Specifically, the Sheffield School will be renovated as a node in the City’s and region’s innovation ecosystem, focusing specifically on the technologies and intellectual capital emanating from the region’s robust defense, underwater, and marine sectors.
In this age of constrained public resources, typically local governments harvest their surplus real estate assets and use the proceeds to supplement municipal budgets. This one-shot approach to fiscal management ensures only that the taxpayers fail to realize the fiscal and economic rewards of valuable assets, which can generate annual returns for local governments for years to come. What’s needed is a more pragmatic approach to maximizing public wealth using a strategic approach to effectively manage the annual returns and life cycles of assets.
New England Economic Development Services, Inc. and The Economic Development Foundation of Rhode Island are proud to be the City of Newport’s Preferred Developer for the Innovate Newport project. Projects like Innovate Newport serve as valuable examples from which other communities can learn how to leverage their assets for economic and community development goals. If you face similar challenges, we encourage you to reach out for a conversation as to how we can help your community emerge as a leader in this new age of public sector entrepreneurism.