As a government of people we can enable, encourage and support the private citizen with a vision of dreams that are possible.
This is a plan of action that can make that dream possible.
1Puerto Rico Farming Alliance Equipment use Furlough Land use Agriculture Field University Collective Farms Alliance Harvest Centers 2Inner City Revitalization Project Commercial Property Purchase or Leases Standardized Business Signs and Exterior Management 3Startup Careers in Retail and Food Service Free or Low Commercial Rents Free New or Unsold Merchandise Gifted by Wholesalers and Retailers Free Recycled Merchandise Gifted by Puerto Citizens 4.Open Arms Lodging of Puerto Rico Advertising in airports and billboards Promote Lodge Construction and Renovation Regular Inspections to Insure the Integrity of Tourist Satisfaction Tourist Lodging Themes and Tours
PUERTO RICO FARMING ALLIANCE
If there is ever a time when food shortages occur, there will be no greater insurance policy for Puerto Rico than to be potentially self supporting by the development of farming.
As a species we love to til the soil and watch things grow. Almost anyone can do it but he/she needs mechanized equipment, land, and above all, adequate farming knowledge.
Providing mechanical equipment for hundreds, even thousands of potential farmers will more than overstress government and its budget. However, government owned equipment, or the government contracting equipment and operators, can make shared farming operating equipment within reach of everyone who wants to make farming their career choice.
Corporate and privately owned land can be made part of the newly established PUERTO RICO FARMING ALLIANCE. Tax incentives, or simply the ability to help society are good incentives to have land made available for private alliance farming. The Government of Puerto Rico has under utilized land liein furlowed under its control that can also help make this vision a possibility. Land is temporarily divided into different size farming lots. Small lots of 100 sq meters for some farmers to multi-acre land for fruit tree farmers. Flat land makes good land for cultivation (turning the soil) while heavy rock and mountainous land can become fruit tree farms. A Puerto Rican citizen makes a request for farmland and proposes crops he/she may like to cultivate. The appropriate size land within close commuting distance is offered to this citizen. If the land needs cultivation, plowing or discing is made available by government or privately owned equipment operators.
AGRICULTURE FIELD UNIVERSITY
Employees of Puerto Rico, or volunteers, provide information to the alliance farmer about crop and soil management. The concept is to provide assistance where accepted. There are no demands or threats of fines. The FIELD PROFESSOR is the friend of the farmer, not the leader or manager. The farmer is free to use his/her own judgement for the outcome of the crop and harvest. There will also be cases when the Field Professor learns from the farmer.
The alliance farmer now has land, cultivated if necessary, available instructions, and ready for immediate farming. The farmer must provide hand tools and seeds or seedlings. His/her obligations are to plant, keep crop free of weeds, watering (if possible), maintaining the land by providing natural fertilizer (if possible) and harvesting and preparing crops for delivery to the ALLIANCE HARVEST CENTER. All funds paid to the alliance farmer from the harvest center belongs to the farmer to pay any outstanding debts used to finance the business and to support the farmer’s family.
PUERTO RICO COLLECTIVE FARMS
These are wide open areas with government paid or contracted land management. Farm collectives provide available farming labor and skills to hourly wage workers. Workers clean, clear, plant, weed, and harvest different area farms where directed by management. Then prepare and transport crops to the ALLIANCE HARVEST CENTER. Collective farms are intended to provide employment for the majority of able bodied citizens who want to work but are uncomfortable with business management.
ALLIANCE HARVEST CENTERS
Today one of the greatest expense of time for farmers is discovering ways to make produce available for sale. The ALLIANCE HARVEST CENTER is a warehouse of produce grown by alliance farmers. The alliance center pays a set and posted price for farmer’s goods, then makes the produce available at wholesale prices to local and area wide grocers, feed and seed stores, produce stores, and restaurants, and make delivery when necessary.
The local alliance centers work together as one. ALLIANCE HARVEST CENTERS' earned income is used to pay producing farmers, workers, management, and transporters. If and when there is a shortage of funding, only then is the government there to close the gap.
AN INNER CITY REVITALIZATION SOLUTION
Almost every town in Puerto Rico has an inner city area with a town square or park in the center of activity. Today a large number of commercial buildings are either vacant or occupied by governmental agencies. In addition, other retail areas just beyond this central area experience light or no foot traffic and buildings are abandoned and in poor condition.
ACCESS AND PARKING
To make it possible for any inner city to survive and prosper there must be adequate foot traffic and easy access and parking. Find areas just outside the commercial rehabilitation area, hopefully large block size areas, remove all structures and improve the area as parking. To get the potential customer or tourist to the commercial area, employ golf cart type vehicles with a train of five or more passenger carts to make regular runs between the commercial shopping and parking. The transportation is free and people can shop, take packages back to their car, ride back and shop some more. And if your town is successful, it may have more than one central location of shops and restaurants located nearby. In this case the transportation will also be from shopping area to shopping area.
COMMERCIAL PROPERTY PURCHASE OR LEASES
The government of Puerto Rico takes control of these commercial properties by purchase or with lease contracts at greatly reduced rent to the government. Government provides the promise to oversee the rehabilitation of the building, improve the front exterior to show off its historical architecture beauty, resurface sidewalks, and paint building frontage with beautiful pastel colors that show off the individual character of the buildings. With the potential higher demand for this property, owners could also be rewarded with enhanced property values.
STANDARDIZED BUSINESS SIGNS and Exterior Management
Establish commercial sign standards to give all commercial endeavors an equal chance of the enterprise dollar and create a uniformed look among the merchants. It can be suggested to establish unlit wood painted and/or carved signs to a maximum of one square meter and hang perpendicular to the building over the sidewalk. And if large windows are available, they may be used to letter the business name but avoid large window display signs that block the view to the interior and possibly clash with the planned look of the building. This way business owners do not have to compete with large signs and all businesses have an equal chance to the shopping dollar.
STARTUP CAREERS IN RETAIL AND FOOD SERVICE
There are large numbers of people who dream of opening their own business in Restaurants and Retail, but the looming possibilities of failure and devastating bankruptcy hold many in their tracks. Lack of capital is of course the prime reason for failure.
Imagine a possibility where you can start your own business dream with a fraction of operating costs. Imagine free or near free rent, improved high foot traffic area, and even the possibility of obtaining your merchandise for free. One hundred percent of your profits can be used to grow your business, make payroll, pay utilities, and you. Today it is only a fantasy, but the possibility of growing your dream in Puerto Rico can exist.
All or most of the inner city revitalization is created for this reason. A town of beautiful buildings and easy parking and transportation is only vibrant if the buildings are occupied with clean and unique stores and restaurants.
FREE OR LOW COMMERCIAL RENTS
Government contract leases with the commercial dreamer with the use of these revitalized retail spaces for a token amount of rent or possibly free. As these two or three year contracts end, rents can grow commensurate to the success of the newly established and growing business If the business is still struggling but the owner wants to continue, the lease can be subject to review for renewal.
FREE NEW OR UNSOLD MERCHANDISE
Gifted by Wholesalers and Retailers
Almost all retailers have stock that becomes difficult to move, or the retailer needs the space for new merchandise to give a new look for his business. This retailer has the opportunity to transport this new, but unsold merchandise, for tax credits, to PUERTO RICO’S RECYCLED MERCHANDISE CENTER located in most townships. These are large warehouse style building using presently vacated structures. The merchandise is sorted for view for contracted retailers to pick and choose from the stock for their establishment. Items not claimed by contracted store owners after six months can be made available for sale to local public auctions.
FREE RECLAIMED MERCHANDISE
Gifted by Puerto Rican Citizens
Each year thousands of residents in Puerto Rico wish to discard and replace home contents, but realize they are much too good to end up in the landfill. These residents can help the cause of business success in Puerto Rico, and gain a tax incentive or retail credit from participating stores. Also retail sales improve when the homeowner now has space for new things. If the resident does not have access to transportation, they may call upon township contracted truck owners to transport their items to COMMUNITY GIFT CENTERS, There at the CGC, employees determine good items from bad, sort and display the good items and the bad items then find their way to the landfill or recycling center.
Contracted retailers will have the opportunity to visit these CGCs and pick up merchandise for their stores. Stores may also hire talented workers to refurbish broken merchandise. On a regular bases, CGCs move donated items from one local center to another. After a period of time, color coded or numbered items unclaimed after an expired period of time can find their way also to the landfill or recycling center.
Contracted retailers who wish to change merchandise, have the freedom to transport merchandise to the COMMUNITY GIFT CENTER and restock their store with different items.
TOURIST LODGING AND TOUR DESTINATIONS
OPEN ARMS LODGING OF PUERTO RICO
Tourism service for the vacation planner as well as the impulsive visitor who wants to experience what Puerto Rico has to offer, can take advantage of Puerto Rico’s new government sponsored free service to encourage tourist to support local lodges and experience local tourist attractions.
Imagine the airport full of advertisements about OPEN ARMS Lodging of Puerto Rico with phone number and website address. Travelers see billboard advertising about OPEN ARMS Lodging. Tourist are encouraged to contact OPEN ARMS, a free service for both lodge owners and the tourism public. OPEN ARMS provides information about locally owned lodging all over Puerto Rico. Sorted by restaurant themes, location, amenities, even photos sent to your phone and the GPS destination, along with the owner’s welcome and an exploration list of attractions to experience at or near their lodge.
PROMOTE LODGE CONSTRUCTION
With the help of OPEN ARMS Lodging of Puerto Rico, just about anyone can create a lodging destination of a dozen or more cottages with new hope for success. Or find one of many small lodging locations in need of renovation that are often hidden, out of the way places, that presently see little business and may be in danger of disappearing from the landscape.
TO INSURE INTEGRITY OF TOURIST SATISFACTION
OPEN ARMS with its minimum set standards, periodically visits these lodges to insure the integrity of tourist satisfaction. If an owner needs help to comply, OPEN ARMS will help provide reference for employees or partnerships.
TOURIST LODGING THEMES AND TOURS
One of the greatest needs for successful tourism is not only adequate lodging but unique lodging with local natural attractions, attractions that are abundant in Puerto Rico. Lodging with unique themes will add much to the Puerto Rican experience. Themes and tours, such as quiet mountain views, waterfalls, access to ancient Torno sites or Torno lodging re-creation sites with action plays, games, and authentic dress and culture, caves, rivers, mountain streams, hot and cold springs, locations surrounded by rainforest, fruit tree farms, and unique travels through history like viewing farming with oxen, close views and education about windmill farms, horse farms and horseback riding, and unique shopping experiences in the local historic districts and townships. All of these and more can rank as high as those with beach and water trip activities. The potential for new things for tourist to see is as abundant as the imagination of the Puerto Rican people.
When the possibility of success grows for the lodge owner, not only does the lodge owner benefit, but Puerto Rico’s revenue base and tourist activity grow. Government does best what the individual cannot do on his own, and with just a little help from the Government, an explosion of reasons to visit and explore Puerto Rico lie just over the horizon.
Steven C. Marek
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