urban development:

Charlotte has reinvented itself before: from gold mining to railroads, from a cotton producer to a textile center. Laura Schulte, Wells Fargo’s community banking president for the Eastern region, said she hopes Charlotte will reinvent itself again. It’s not in the city’s best interest to be a banktown forever, Schulte said, because the tax base, charities and other operations can become too dependent on that industry. “Being the largest banking town outside of New York was the good news and the bad news,” said Schulte, who moved to Charlotte from Los Angeles after Wells bought Wachovia. “… So my opinion is it would be very good if banking played less of a role. I don’t think that’s because banking would contract but because we’d have more diversity in the businesses here.” It will be difficult to determine when that transformation occurs, if ever. But the city says it’s going to try. The City Council’s new economic development plan for 2011 to 2014, which the council should vote on in November, emphasizes metrics for tracking whether the big-picture goals are met. For example, the city and its hospitality partners will measure the goal of making Charlotte more of a tourism draw by metrics like hospitality tax revenues, use of the convention center, and the number of retrained workers hired by the sector. Foxx said short-term success will come when the region’s unemployment rate, which is still in the double digits, declines dramatically. “Longer term, I don’t think we’ll ever be finished with the work of trying to make our city a better place to live,” Foxx said. “The minute you start standing still, you start losing ground.”

via Seeking a vision beyond banking – CharlotteObserver.com.

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