Meridian~Kessler Neighborhood
Meridian~Kessler Neighborhood
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Land Use Case Reviews • January 9, 2017 at 6pm
Land Use Committee Meeting Monday, January 9, 2017 at 6...

December 5th, 2014
A Robust Economy

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Our neighborhood is a benchmark that many try to duplicate, but cannot, because the natural diversity of people, lifestyles and incomes is intrinsic to our community’s composition and is not replicable. It is this diversity that gives MKNA both interest and texture— and creates a robust local economy.

MK is home to 15,000 people; 6,500 households. It is a balance of young to old, wealthy to below poverty level. It is roughly 38% white, 61% black. Its population is 27% 18 years and younger; 32 is the median age. With regard to housing, approximately 49% is owner occupied, 41% rental, 10% vacant. It has lush, tree lined sidewalk connected streets with suburban feel challenged by urban issues and needs.

With many commercial nodes spread throughout our residential pocket neighborhoods, we are home to many, many local businesses— larger & smaller, established & emerging. Meridian–Kessler is a place where you can walk or drive half a mile to buy a bouquet of flowers, get a facial or a haircut, pick up some lightbulbs, a screw driver or a christmas tree. You can fuel up your car or get your tires rotated. Buy your auto insurance policy— and many other professional services from an office on the corner. Order a wood-fired  pizza to enjoy at a sidewalk table. Get a cup of coffee and read the newspaper. Eat a hamburger with crispy edges. Shop for a picture frame, a music cd, or buy a gift certificate for a fine dinner. Buy and get fitted for a bicycle. We have specialty stores for gourmet pretzels, craft beers, dog biscuits and chicken coops!

Healthy local businesses contribute to the self-reliance of a community.

Stacy Mitchell, a senior researcher with the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, describes some of the community benefits of healthy local ownership:

  • Local ownership ensures that important decisions are made locally by people who live in the community and who will feel the impacts of those decisions.
  • Locally owned businesses create more jobs locally and, in some sectors, provide better wages and benefits than chains do.
  • Entrepreneurship fuels America’s economic innovation and prosperity, and serves as a key means for families to move out of low-wage jobs and into the middle class.
  • Local stores help to sustain vibrant, compact, walkable town centers—which in turn are essential to reducing sprawl, automobile use, habitat loss, and air and water pollution.
  • A marketplace of tens of thousands of small businesses is the best way to ensure innovation and low prices over the long-term.

Jeff Milchen, former executive director of Reclaim Democracy and co-founder of the American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA), writes,

“Each year brings more national chains displacing locally-owned businesses throughout the country. We see clones replace unique establishments. People across the country are losing sense of community in their town, and consider this trend a symptom, but could it be a cause as well? Also, what are the impacts of this trend on our economic well-being?”

  • Building A Strong Local Economy

“Independent local businesses employ a wide array of supporting services. They hire architects, designers, cabinet shops, sign makers and contractors for construction. Opportunities grow for local accountants, insurance brokers, computer consultants, attorneys, advertising agencies and others to help run it. Local retailers and distributors also carry a higher percentage of locally made goods than the chains, creating more jobs for local producers… [I]ndependent merchants create a multiplier effect in the local economy of 3 – 3 1/2 times that of a chain outlet.”

  • Ensuring Choice and Diversity

“Our freedom of choice is imperiled when a few buyers from national chains choose what reaches consumers. This may be only mildly disturbing for most consumer goods, but truly frightening when you consider the impact on our choice of news sources, books, music and other modes of expression.”

  • Maintaining Community Character

“Local owners with much of their life savings invested in their businesses have a natural interest in the long-term health of the community. Community-based businesses are essential to charitable endeavors, frequently serving on local boards, and supporting a variety of causes.”

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