Economic justice

New SLDC Director Seeks to Bring Economic Justice to Saint-Louis | Local News

Neal Richardson assumes new role July 1

Neal Richardson works for economic justice.

The new executive director of the St Louis Development Corporation (SLDC) will take over at the end of June and says residents can expect to see more community engagement to strengthen neighborhoods and economically move the whole city forward.

SLDC is a non-profit umbrella company that promotes economic development and growth in Saint-Louis by stimulating the market for private investment in urban real estate and business development.

“Economic justice is really about being able to overcome historical obstacles and economic inequalities that have kept everyone from being able to contribute, to own our economic future,” said Richardson. “So today we have about 45% of our population in the city of St. Louis being black, but black employees make, on average, 48% of a white employee and homes in predominantly zip codes. black are worth less than a quarter of these. in predominantly white postal codes.

He said these inequalities were created systematically through racial alliances, red lines and other policies.

“And so, in order for us to fill these gaps and create opportunities for the whole of St. Louis to thrive, we need to have interventions in our policies and procedures – the way we allocate tax incentives, the way we allocate tax incentives. Of which we invest in workforce development and provide an ecosystem of support for women and minority businesses to be able to compete at the same level, we need to invest in these things intentionally, ”said Richardson.

Richardson said he believed he would be successful in the role because of his 14 years of professional experience – as well as his passion for St. Louis, where he was born and raised.

He has held numerous positions at the US Bank since 2011 – most recently as director of the Business Impact Group, in addition to being president and co-founder of Dream Builders 4 Equity – which hires entrepreneurs and minority students to renovate. of dilapidated houses in North City. who then get a share of the profits once it is sold.

St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones announced Riachardson’s appointment on June 3.

“Neal Richardson understands that fair development is more than brick and mortar,” Jones wrote in a statement. “From leading the US Bank Business Impact Group to his work as President of Dream Builders 4 Equity, I know Neal will foster forward-thinking holistic development that opens up opportunities for families in our area. city.”

Richardson replaces Otis Williams, who took over as head of the agency in 2013 and retired at the end of April.

Williams served under two mayors – Francis Slay and Lyda Krewson – and worked behind the scenes on projects such as the new Busch Stadium, Ballpark Village, the Cortex Innovation Community, and the redevelopment of the old Arena site and hospital. from the city. He also played a key role in keeping the city’s western headquarters of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and building the $ 1.75 billion facility.

Richardson said he believes Williams has done a great job of intentionally attracting businesses and employers to St. Louis while working strategically with the business community to move the region forward on the development front.

“And I can’t wait to be able to leverage and collaborate with these same developers and groups so that I can say, ‘Hey, I really want to partner with you, I think that’s great, there is a need for us to have a stronger economy, ‘”he said.” But to make sure our region is stronger, all of our neighborhoods are stronger, that we tackle the crime and the talent pool that keeps us from growing. “

Ultimately, Richardson says he hopes to raise the voices of all residents in this position.

“This is really the goal of economic justice, it is to raise the voice of all of our residents and to ensure that they have an equal seat at the table and not just a seat – that they have a voice that must be heard and respected. And so that’s what I hope to put forward in this role, is to make sure that everyone has a strong voice and a shared and collective ownership and responsibility in our future.

Richardson received his BA and MA in Business Administration from Webster University.

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