Select an economic development project in your community. The project must have been implemented and completed within the past 10 years. Provide background about the project and the intended economic benefits. In presenting your overview of the project, compare the project’s development to the six phases of planning as presented in the Blakely and Leigh text. Did your community economic development project experience the same phases? Discuss. Also, outline the different approaches to community sustainability. What elements of the different approaches exist in your community’s project?
Economic Development Project Review
The H-E-B Center is one of the economic development projects within the Cedar Park community, Texas. The center features a multipurpose event arena. This means the arena is suitable for various activities including sporting events, concerts, ice shows, graduations, family events, and other indoor activities. Construction works of the H-E-B Center began in 2008, with its completion happening in 2009. The arena was built at a cost of $55 million. The arena is home to various sports teams including American Hockey League, the Texas Stars, Austin spurs, San Antonio spurs NBA D-league team, and among others.
There are various intended economic benefits of the arena. First, the construction of the arena aimed at improving sports in the region. This would lead to more youths developing a passion in sports events and other entertainment activities thus reducing their risk of engaging in criminal activities. The arena was also intended to create direct and indirect employment. The arena has many direct employees some of whom are involved in conducting maintenance or supervision, while others are directly involved in sporting and entertainment activities. Another intended economic benefit was to increase the state government’s revenues. On average, the arena holds about 150 events per year (H-B-E Center, 2017). These events generate revenue for the state and local government. Lastly, the construction of the arena aimed at promoting tourism in the region. The arena has received over 1.5 million attendees from different parts of the U.S. since inception.
The project compares to the six phases of project development by Blakely and Leigh (2009). The first phase is the data gathering and analysis phase. At this phase, the entities in charge of planning evaluate the current economic conditions of the region, including the challenges facing the locals such as unemployment issues. During the planning and development of the arena, the expectations were that the sporting complex would help in solving the unemployment problem in the region. The second phase is to select a local development strategy that can help in solving the identified problems (Blakely & Leigh, 2009). The strategy in this case was to build a multipurpose arena. The third phase involves selecting a local development project. This concerns the programs and investments that can fit within the scope of identified strategy.
The fourth phase is developing action plans. This phase involves financing and designing of the project. For instance, the arena was designed to have a seating configuration of about 8,000 people. The next phase involves specifying the project details (Blakely & Leigh, 2009). In this phase, the planning team establishes elaborate plans for monitoring and evaluating the project. The last phase is project implementation (Blakely & Leigh, 2009). This involves ensuring that the project comes to fruition and that it serves the specific purposes it was meant to serve. In this phase, the project planners appointed the operator and signed a naming rights agreement with H-E-B. The project planners have also ensured the arena hosts sporting and entertainment events.
There are a few different approaches to community sustainability. Community sustainability is about adopting environmentally sustainable activities. It is also about activities that citizens can afford. Community sustainability may require that the community members adjust to the changing environment or risk facing various consequences. The construction of the arena involved using environmentally sustainable materials in order to promote long-lasting environments.
Blakely, E. J., & Leigh, N. G. (2009). Planning local economic development: Theory and practice. London: SAGE.
H-E-B Center. (2017). About the arena. Retrieved from http://www.hebcenter.com/arena- info/about-the-arena