City of Austin EDD
The Soul-y Austin Business District Incubator is the City initiative that aims to support the creation and retention of stable, organized commercial districts. Soul-y Austin leads business districts on a journey towards the formation of their own merchants association, thus empowering businesses and establishing business leadership.
Nicole Klepadlo. Project Manager leads the Soul-y Austin effort within the City’s Economic Development Department. Nicole successfully organized and developed the program based on national best practices and from her experience in other communities; the initiative has gained interest and is supported by various divisions and departments within the City of Austin.
On a daily basis, Nicole serves as the Project Manager and engages with businesses and other stakeholders within the community. The development of the program and its strategies will allow both Soul-y ATX and future commercial corridors and areas involved in the program to achieve their goals and vision. From planning workshops, policy discussions, and meeting with external stakeholders Nicole’s goal is to establish on-going relationship with additional resources and creative ideas to contribute to the program. Nicole is preparing Soul-y Austin for its second round, connecting with new businesses and conducting the required analysis to determine what three commercial corridors will join Soul-y Austin in 2016.
Morningside Research and Consulting
Morningside Research and Consulting joined the Soul-y Austin team with the goal and expertise of contributing to the development, enhancement, and stabilization of commercial corridors through one on one outreach to businesses. For more than 15 years, Morningside has been reviewing public programs in the Austin Metropolitan area, specializing in conducting program audits, reviews, and evaluations; policy analyses; and data analyses and engaging with businesses.
As part of the Soul-y Austin team, Morningside is leading business outreach in the three commercial areas of focus. Jesse Jenkins and Dara Schmitt, analysts at MR&C, are conducting the research and connecting with the businesses individually in order to fully educate them on Soul-y Austin and its goal of empowering commercial districts in the City. Jesse and Dara have greatly contributed to the rising interest that business owners have in this initiative, and they state that “going door-to-door and meeting business owners and getting to know the history of the areas" is their favorite part of being on the Soul-y Austin team.
“The idea that a merchant’s association can be and do whatever the businesses themselves envision, can bring about a lot of new ideas for collaboration.” -Jesse Jenkins, Morningside Research
Austin Community Design and Development Center
The Austin Community Design and Development Center is a non-profit Texas organization that has been operating since August of 2006. ACDDC provides services that include: integrated green design, charrette facilitation, assistance with feasibility, construction project management, policy work, architectural design, and grant writing. In the past, ACDDC has worked with the University of Texas Center for Sustainable Development, Green Doors, Guadalupe Neighborhood Development Coordination, American YouthWorks, and The Meadows Foundation.
ACDDC assists Soul-y Austin with the planning of district meetings and workshops as well as with the development of a district plan which will be implemented once the merchants association is formed. In order to fully understand each unique district, ACDDC analyzes and interprets meeting activity outcomes and carefully listen to the business’ needs and wants. The ACDDC identifies key aspects and themes related to the district, and then proceed to propose tactical urbanism solutions that will further improve the district and attract customers and economic development.
Follow our blog and watch for future posts as we introduce our team and the areas underway. If you have any questions or comments about this exciting opportunity, please contact Nicole Klepadlo, Program Manager at email@example.com or 512-974-7739.