Wichita is working to bring economic opportunity to low-income and underdeveloped neighborhoods. Also located within a number of these neighborhoods are Opportunity Zones, designated disadvantaged areas that can potentially benefit from a federal tax incentive aimed at promoting economic development. To spark and sustain economic development in these areas, the Wichita City Manager’s Office saw a need to work with various stakeholders and community groups to encourage additional neighborhood investment. FUSE executive fellow Angeline Johnson helped the city forge deeper partnerships with communities, improving their collective efforts to increase the vitality and quality of life for businesses and residents.

To do this, Angeline worked closely with city staff, community partners, and neighborhood residents to identify, frame, and initiate various collaborative economic development efforts in communities. She helped the city understand how to use Opportunity Zones to its benefit while maintaining a focus on the community. She helped create Community Benefit Agreements, which identify the community benefits that a developer agrees to provide in exchange for project support. She helped the city align financing incentives with community needs and enhanced strategic collaborations among organizations. Her work provides a blueprint for effective, multi-stakeholder economic development designed to spur additional investment in low-income and underdeveloped neighborhoods throughout the city.