Go slow on SE Raleigh incubator

Some in Southeast Raleigh may believe the city is dragging its feet in re-establishing a business incubator project that ultimately was closed because of accusations of fraud and mismanagement. Certainly that was the message in the comments of some who attended a meeting earlier this week at Chavis Community Center.

The city had denied a couple of proposals from outside groups that want to run the center, and doubtless those groups have encouraged supporters to make themselves heard.

But the city has to move slowly on this project, and city council members are right to do so. The incubator got public money and was supposed to mentor small businesses and provide space to some trying to establish themselves. But an audit in 2013 found evidence of fraud and mismanagement.

The audit rightly caused the city to end its funding to the center. And it shouldn’t restart the incubator until a management plan is in place that will give the city strict financial oversight. It may be that having a private, outside concern manage the incubator isn’t the wisest course. The idea here is to give new business a chance, and the city has plenty of expertise at its disposal to help.