Why Elevate Tuscaloosa?
Today, Tuscaloosa is successful by most measures. We weathered the Great Recession in the late 2000s and overcame the tragic tornado of April 27, 2011. Even with online digital sales siphoning off millions of dollars annually in recent years, Tuscaloosa has the ability to maintain where we are for the next decade without any additional revenue increases. However, the status quo is a false choice because Tuscaloosa’s economic and quality-of-life models are changing for two primary reasons.
The first variable is the dwindling of America’s brick and mortar retail stores due to digital online sales. Compounding this is the fact that millennials prefer to invest more in experiences than retail goods. Second, after years of record-setting student enrollment growth, The University of Alabama has reached its peak for the foreseeable future.
Understanding this, Elevate Tuscaloosa is focused on creating economic hotspots centered around the experience economy while vastly enhancing education, job development, transit, arts, parks and recreation. The goal of Elevate is to vastly upgrade, overhaul and enhance education, workforce development, job creation, transportation and recreation. Increasing revenue was not a goal of the plan, just the means to fund it.
How does our City compare to others?
The City of Tuscaloosa has the lowest tax rate when ranked against Alabama's 20 largest cities with tax rates ranging from Tuscaloosa's 2% to Mobile and Gadsden's 5%. Several cities surrounding Tuscaloosa, such as Coaling, Fayette, and Moundville have tax rates of 3% to 3.5%. Yet, Tuscaloosa is one of the Big Five cities in Alabama and become a destination for shopping, dining and entertainment.
Why is housing not included in Elevate Tuscaloosa?
The City of Tuscaloosa is currently undergoing a Comprehensive Plan and Land Development Code update. One of the outcomes of this process will be a multifaceted housing plan to address workforce housing needs within the entire community. Feel free to share your thoughts or ideas related to housing at framework.tuscaloosa.com. We want your feedback!
Is workforce development a part of Elevate Tuscaloosa?
Yes. By 2021, Tuscaloosa will need 5,000 more skilled employees to meet anticipated workforce projections. By 2030, we will require an additional 23,000. The job and career-ready scholarships that will be offered to all high school seniors in the city school system through Elevate Tuscaloosa will help to ensure our students are ready to compete in a 21st century, technology-driven environment.
The projects will create jobs, attract tourism and improve the accessibility of educational opportunities within Tuscaloosa. All of these things will have a positive return on investment in the form of a higher quality of life for our community as well as financial benefits.