Sold on St. Bernard Wins Award from International Economic Development Council
St Bernard Economic Development Foundation won a Gold Rank for its SBEDF Sold on St. Bernard, a project in the category of Neighborhood and Retail Development of the International Economic Development Council (IEDC). The honor was presented at an awards ceremony during the IEDC Annual Conference.
“IEDC’s Excellence in Economic Development Awards recognize the world’s best economic development programs and partnerships, marketing materials, and the year’s most influential leaders. 25 award categories honor organizations and individuals for their efforts in creating positive change in urban, suburban, and rural communities. Awards are judged by a diverse panel of economic and community developers, following a nomination process held earlier this year. IEDC received over 500 submissions from 4 countries.”
“Sold on St. Bernard” has always been a project of the people. With the parish decimated after Katrina, parish residents could have easily left their lives behind and moved on. Yet, they decided to return home, wade through the damages, and rebuild. Originally, planners came to the residents of St. Bernard with the equivalent of the infamous “Green Dot Plan” of New Orleans, calling for entire neighborhoods to remain as green space, much to the dismay of people hoping for neighborhood revitalization. Sold on St. Bernard has spurred home development in all areas of the parish while mandating home quality and building standards. The impact of the program is immeasurable. It has brought the population’s home back to life.
The program is also responsible for a notable chunk of the population, yielding property taxes, sales taxes, increases in property value, and community development funds. Totals include:
- All of the initial 4,500 lots are committed through purchase and sale agreements. 90 of these properties are preserved as green space throughout the community.
- 418 Buy & Build properties sold.
- 114 Lot Next Door properties sold (since 2017).
- 279 Builder Bundle properties awarded.
- $17m+ raised for community development improvements.
- 1,686 new residents*, an increase amounting to 3.5% of the current parish population (*calculated based on an average household size of three).
Sold on St. Bernard is a residential and neighborhood redevelopment program operated by the St. Bernard Parish Department of Community Development. After Hurricane Katrina decimated the parish’s population and physical assets, they were left with an abundance of blighted and vacant properties. St. Bernard Parish came into ownership of over 4,500 of these properties in 2012.
To revitalize these properties and neighborhoods, Sold on St. Bernard was created by local government and private partners to streamline the process of residential redevelopment. The program sells lots individually to buyers, in-bulk to developers selected through a rigorous RFP process, and to homeowners with a vacant lot next door that are looking to expand their property.
Initially focusing primarily on marketing the parish as a comfortable community with ample new housing for families, the program has drastically expanded the residential offerings and housing standards of the parish. Hundreds of blighted or vacant properties have been redeveloped into comfortable dwellings, bringing much-needed growth to the parish in the form of population, property tax, sales tax, and more.
“The winners of IEDC’s Excellence in Economic Development awards represent the best of economic development and exemplify the leadership that our profession strives for every day,” said 2021 IEDC Board Chair and Invest Buffalo Niagara, President, and CEO Tom Kucharski. “We’re honored to recognize the more than 100 communities whose marketing submissions, projects, and partnerships have improved regional quality of life.”
About the International Economic Development Council
The International Economic Development Council (IEDC) is a non-profit, non-partisan membership organization serving economic developers. With more than 5,000 members, IEDC is the largest organization of its kind. Economic developers promote economic well-being and quality of life for their communities by creating, retaining, and expanding jobs that facilitate growth, enhance wealth and provide a stable tax base. From public to private, rural to urban, and local to international, IEDC’s members engage in the full range of economic development experiences. Given the breadth of economic development work, our members are employed in various settings, including local, state, provincial, and federal governments, public-private partnerships, chambers of commerce, universities, and a variety of other institutions. When we succeed, our members create high-quality jobs, develop vibrant communities, and improve the quality of life in their regions. Learn more at iedconline.org.