A proposed public-private partnership for economic development in New Orleans is behind schedule but still moving forward, people involved in the effort say. Hopes for having a board and chief executive in place by early this year have been replaced with a new goal of having a board selected by mid-April and a chief executive in place, and being ready to hire staff by June 1.
Belinda Little-Wood, the city’s economic development director, called the earlier timeline “way too aggressive.” She says progress is being made, with articles of incorporation and bylaws submitted to the state. The private sector also is working toward a March 31 target to secure the $400,000 it must raise to tap $2 million the city has committed. “I think everyone is cautiously optimistic,” Little-Wood said. “I think the closer we get to the goal line, the more excited people get.”
The focus of the public-private partnership, at least initially, is expected to be on growing and keeping existing businesses, concentrating on areas like health care, tourism, the port, aerospace and energy to also attract new jobs. It would work to pair businesses with agencies or interests that could help them.