By Barry Broome
Few things help an economy recover faster than construction projects and the creation of high wage jobs in a tradable industry sector. The residents of Davis can act as leaders in the recovery of not only the community but the region.
The Davis Innovation & Sustainability Campus (DISC) will be an anchor where companies can grow, innovate, and solve some of the world’s most pressing problems. UC Davis has turned out some of the brightest minds in the country but unfortunately, many of them leave the region. Right now, we only keep 30% of them in the Greater Sacramento area. DISC provides the region and the city of Davis a resource to retain these graduates and support up to an additional 5 jobs for every one created on the Campus.
While some detractors will offer the standard NIMBY response to the progress of traffic and building on the periphery what they fail to understand is that communities only go in one of two directions: they grow or they die. Growing up in Cleveland, Ohio I have seen firsthand how the fallout of a contracting community can take generations to overcome. The city of Davis has the unique opportunity and responsibility to ensure that our region does not experience a similar fate.
The Davis Innovation & Sustainability Campus (DISC) fills essential gaps in our regional economy and is coming to fruition at just the right moment. Davis lawmakers, thought leaders, and voters would be wise to support it. The project will front load millions of dollars in revenue for the City and County, including upfront impact fees for Davis Joint Unified School District, public services, infrastructure, open space, public safety and affordable housing. And the jobs – estimated at 5,400 at the campus – are the tradable type that creates additional jobs in the community at a higher rate than service or government jobs.
The current pandemic has caused mass economic hardship, and the pain is only starting to be felt by local governments. Davis’s budget is lean even in the best economic times, and the best way to ensure that the community has the tax dollars to pay for the services the residents require is to enable more businesses to grow locally.
Evolving a community and building its economy is not for the faint of heart. In a near built out community like Davis it requires great thought. You cannot build and sustain a great city without a great business community. DISC gives the city the ability to continue its smart and sustainable growth in a responsible manner.
Barry Broome is President & CEO of the Greater Sacramento Economic Council