The City Council tentatively chose Avant Garde to fix Temple City’s deteriorating economy on Tuesday, January 20, 2009. Councilman Ken Gillanders voted against the proposal.
Avant Garde, an economic development consulting firm, was one of four consultants being considered.
The others included Keyser Marston Associates, JWA Urban Consultants, Inc., and Urban Futures. City staff had recommended the City Council select either Avant Garde or Urban Futures, both of which have worked with Temple City in the past.
Robert Paz, representative for Avant Garde, noted the firm would “look at redevelopment as a tool of community development.”
Once Avant Garde is contracted with the City, it will work current and new businesses, study city demographics and advertise to aid in community redevelopment. Avant Garde’s first project will be geared toward the Las Tunas area.
“We need a plan that more specifically addresses this town,” said councilman Gillanders. Gillanders pointed that Avant Garde specializes in improving poverty stricken neighborhoods, not affluent communities like Temple City.
Councilwoman Judy Wong, who supported hiring an economic consultant, suggested giving Avant Garde 30 days to come up with a more solid presentation. During discussion, councilmembers Fernando Vizcarra and Dave Capra both indicated they wanted to see a more detailed proposal.
Several attempts have been made to ameliorate the city’s economic state during the past twelve months.
The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) proposal, lobbied by the Temple City Chamber of Commerce, was approved in June 2008.
Then in September, the City Council ended a non-retail business moratorium. The highly unpopular ordinance was enacted in April.
More recently, Temple City joined the San Gabriel Valley Economic Partnership (SGVEP), a regional economic organization. Membership with the SGVEP cost the city $5000.
After much consideration, councilman Capra made a motion to preliminarily consider Avant Garde. It passed by a 4-1 margin.
“If within 30 days Avant Garde is able to present an acceptable contracted together with a ‘model’ of what they think they can establish, the actual contract will be returned to the City Council for final approval,” wrote City Manager Charles R. Martin in his January 22 weekly report.
This article was written by Randy Shun. It was published in the Temple City Voice on April 24, 2009.