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Norwalk: A California City Model

Norwalk’s long-term multi-node Economic Development Plan has become a model for other towns in California, and it is being emulated around the country.

The ambitious proposal was first conceived in 2017, under the administration of Luigi Vernola, who served as mayor at the time. Both of these places, like Norwalk, are finding early success. However, Norwalk, like few other cities, has more potential as a result of its geographic position and transportation advantages, which include being served by four highways as well as being home to Metrolink and Metro Green Line Stations, among other things. Aside from that, the city of Norwalk is strategically located at the crossroads of Orange and Los Angeles counties. Norwalk’s policymakers have taken action at an opportune time.

This year, the county is expecting to add around 48,400 payroll positions. in accordance with the prediction Despite the fact that this is good news for the region, there are certain signs that indicate a probable slowdown, which might be caused by both the growing cost of housing and the drop in population. Housing prices in Los Angeles County are predicted to increase from $658,339 this year to $674,463 by 2021, making it difficult for some people to afford to remain in the region. According to Tyler LaFerriere, assistant economist of the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation, “the economy has enough momentum to continue moderate growth in 2020, as it did in 2019. Although there are a number of obstacles in the local economy that are preventing a large increase in growth, such as rising property costs and a declining population, the overall picture is positive.

As a result of this evolution, it has become even more critical for local governments to devise strategies to ensure that their cities continue to attract business and growth. Many cities are finding it difficult to attract the attention of developers as a result of the intense competition. Some cities have resorted to forming collaborative efforts with other cities in an attempt to discover answers. This has expanded to a number of cities across state boundaries, all of which are attempting to find methods to keep development and employment growth going in their own areas.

In Norwalk, a systematic approach has been implemented to develop the previously undeveloped areas in order to attract these enterprises and so assure a vibrant local economy and the creation of jobs. The Fitness Village, which contains a 37,000 square foot gym (LA Fitness) and two drive-through food restaurants (Chick-Fil-A and Panera Bread), as well as more stores, was authorized by the Norwalk city council in a joint effort in 2017. The 51-acre Tank Farm is also being prepared for private development, which the city is encouraging. Norwalk intends to acquire the site and has put aside $3 million from a past redevelopment agency bond issued in 2005, which might be used as a nonrefundable deposit or to assist with the planning and development procedures. To say nothing of the 35-acre parcel of land that is currently in the process of being transferred from the state to the municipality. These measures guarantee that communities like Norwalk maintain its competitiveness while also fostering employment growth for the surrounding community.

Los Angeles County is experiencing a severe housing crisis, which is growing increasingly serious. The shortfall is driving up expenses, which should raise serious concerns about the sustainability of economic development. It is precisely for this reason that towns around the county require strong initiatives to preserve the long-term viability of their tax bases and the continuity of city services. It is possible that Norwalk may serve as a model for other communities seeking to sustain a thriving local economy.

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