Local News

Group Says Raleigh Is Tough Place To Do Business

Posted February 15, 2005

— The

Downtown Raleigh Alliance

wants to hang parking banners on street lights. The City Council approved it Tuesday, but the head of the group said it should not have taken a year and a half to get to that point.

Parking banners have been sitting in a storage closet for months because the city says existing poles are too short for the banners. On Tuesday, the city council granted an exception.

"It took me six weeks in Phoenix, eight weeks in Washington, D.C. It's unheard of that it takes this long to get things done," said Margaret Mullen, of the Downtown Raleigh Alliance.

Mullen is about to move on to a new job in a new state. She said while Raleigh is a great place to live, it is a tough place to do business.

"It's difficult to affect change here," she said.

Mullen believes city staff should have more authority to make simple decisions.

"I don't believe city staff has been empowered to be creative, entrepreneurial and think out of the box," she said.

Raleigh City Manager Russell Allen said new regulatory reform is making it easier to do business downtown.

"I think there are a lot of things that happen downtown that people don't see," he said. "I know it's frustrating when some things take a little longer, but there are usually public policy reasons for that."

With nearly a dozen new projects in the works, Allen argues downtown is going through more change now than ever.

"Huge projects that have taken place -- that is a great demonstration that our community's willingness to change and act quickly," he said.

Mullen feels another obstacle in moving downtown forward are two-year city council terms. She said you get nine months of good public policy and 15 months of a council member worrying if the decisions they make will cost them votes.


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