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Roseville forms community development corporation

Nonprofit organization will secure funding for redevelopment projects
By: Sena Christian, The Press Tribune
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The Roseville City Council took the first steps toward the creation of the Roseville Community Development Corporation Oct. 20. The Council unanimously approved the resolution to form the corporation. A community development corporation, or CDC, is a nonprofit, community-based organization that secures private and public capital through the development of both residential and commercial property. In Roseville’s case, the organization will first focus on funding downtown revitalization efforts before addressing other areas throughout the city. “Roseville is at the forefront of doing something creative in this effort with forming this CDC,” said Councilwoman Carol Garcia. “So I am very excited about this.” Proponents are calling the formation of the corporation a proactive approach by the city to protect the $80 million investment in public funds its redevelopment agency has already made to revamp downtown Roseville since the implementation of a revitalization strategy in 1999. This money has paid for streetscape improvements, construction of the downtown parking garage on Vernon Street, renovation of Tower Theatre and Roseville Theatre and other projects. “This is a very unique opportunity for Roseville,” said Assistant City Manager John Sprague. “Unfortunately, because of what’s happening with redevelopment (funding), we have to look at other options.” The city’s reliance on the redevelopment agency to fund revitalization downtown is in jeopardy, Sprague said, “and to successfully move plans forward, Roseville needs other tools.” The corporation is not a government agency and would not be subject to the whims of the California state government. For instance, in May, the city’s redevelopment agency was forced to turn over $2.3 million in funds as part of the 2009-2010 state budget. Additionally, the corporation could assemble federal and state funds, tax credits, and as a nonprofit organization be eligible to receive donations, gifts and bequests. “This is a very forward-thinking move in a time when, for all of us, government resources are going to be restrained,” said Scott Syphax, during public comment. Syphax is the CEO and president of the Nehemiah Corporation of America, a national community development corporation based in Sacramento that has leveraged more than $880 million in projects to spur development in low-income and underserved communities. The Roseville Community Development Corporation would need $5 million from the city to cover start-up costs. Initially, city employees will staff the organization until it grows. The City Council sets long-term policies for the corporation but the organization functions as a separate entity. The city is the sole member of this non-profit organization, so if for some reason the CDC dissolves, assets return to the city. The board of directors might consist of bankers, brokers, real-estate developers, economists and others with relevant expertise. Janette Moynier of First Bank on Vernon Street and secretary of the Downtown Roseville Merchants Association voiced her support of the community development corporation, in part, because of its ability to “partner with other organizations that share the same vision … to help realize the dream of a downtown where you can live, work and play.” Sena Christian can be reached at senac@goldcountrymedia.com.