There is great interest in the community in any number of alternative plans for Takoma Junction, with either more public space, smaller commercial space, or both. The developers maintain that they cannot afford to give us the smaller 34,000 sq ft from their original drawing, or more public space, or space for proper off-site unloading in the back of the development.
One response would be for the City to recognize that some of the open public space has great value to the community for multiple reasons (just as we recognize that the wooded slope has great value), and that the City can and should include significant public open space, even if it isn’t “cost neutral.”
But there are also lots of sources of funding out there for visionary and transformative community space–for innovative open space, city placemaking, hubs and incubators–for a design that would benefit more than just people who can afford upscale retail. Ideas that have gained traction include a food hub, a crafting/maker hub, a job training hub, and a small business incubator.
Below are some possible funding sources other than commercial developers. This is a crowd-sourced document. Please email additional resource ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. State Funding
- Maryland Economic Development Assistance Authority and Fund – direct grants and low-interest loans are available for developments and infrastructure
- Economic Development Opportunities Fund (Sunny Day fund) – grants and loans especially for projects that incorporate employment training or creation for populations with high unemployment
- Maryland Industrial Development Financing Authority – taxable and tax exempt bonds to the city for development of particular projects including those related to clean energy
- Community Development Block Grants
- Maryland Venture Fund – if we included a Impact Hub for start-up small businesses
- Maryland Economic Adjustment Fund
- Maryland Industrial Projects Fund – if we created a partnership with University of Maryland with our Impact Hub focused on food businesses
- Maryland Jobs Now – investing in workforce oriented projects (think a training program for lower income residents interested in business start-ups in landscaping, composting, backyard gardening, home based graphic design, etc.)
2. Philanthropic support
- Annie E. Casey – for Impact Hub focused on environmental problem solving start-ups, from tree care to composting
- Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Foundation – for workforce development for high unemployment pockets of Takoma Park
- Abell Foundation – The Abell Foundation encourages initiatives that attract resident investment in neighborhoods, promote sustainability, increase economic development opportunities and nurture entrepreneurial talent to increase the livability of neighborhoods, the number of residents, the number of jobs and the size of the tax base.
- Town Creek Foundation
3. Impact Capital (non-profit investment firms)
- For example, https://www.calvertimpactcapital.org/ – funding community development for positive outcomes
4. TPSS Co-op members
- In Madison, WI, the co-op raised $1M in 2011 in 39 days en route to financing a larger project. See pp. 25-31 of the following document: https://drexel.edu/~/media/Files/coas2/politics/faculty-papers/EXPLORING%20COOPERATIVES.ashx?la=en. Also, they succeeded in raising capital for more expansion in 2018: https://host.madison.com/wsj/business/willy-street-co-op-hits-fundraising-goal-for-expansion-of/article_3105d033-bac5-5999-9334-a68ed921e7a5.html
5. Other funders interested in community building and placemaking, such as those listed here: https://www.pps.org/article/innovative-funding-programs-for-placemaking.
6. Community crowd-sourcing and other forms of resident investment, including IOBY