Increasingly, we are seeing people and companies exit high crime areas in both large and even not so large cities. Which is, sadly, a good segue into the topics on my mind. Namely, we all need to ask ourselves WHY any company would choose to invest in our town. You probably love it because you grew up there, went to school there and maybe even attended church. But look at things without the murky lens of nostalgia and ask yourself if you would come to your town having never been there and invest in a home or a coffee shop or even a factory.
If your community is not safe, you needn’t worry about industrial sites, education, training, or anything else. NO ONE wants to invest money or their time and effort into coming to your town and doing what YOU/WE should have already done. The only thing you will attract in an unsafe community or unsafe area in your community might be a pawn shop, liquor store or bail bond office. Do whatever it takes to make your streets, shops, and schools safe. Work with your local police and government even if it means raising more revenue for police, fire, etc. After all, the people and companies fleeing the high crime areas that are destroying many of the larger cities are not stupid. They are looking for a safer, better environment for their families and businesses. And they bring their money with them. Make your community a very unwelcome place for criminals.
You may look at the old falling down building and wish that someone would bring it back to its former glory. But if this hasn’t happened in the last 40 years or so it is probably too late and what you see as quaint is another person’s eyesore. Clean up your town and get rid of buildings that should have been condemned years ago. This isn’t always easy. There are issues with complicated ownership from estates, a general unwillingness to “pull the trigger” on condemnation or a whole host of regulatory hurdles. Nonetheless, it is essential that your town be attractive. Keep the empty lots mowed, trim the plants on public property, and enforce building codes till people maintain their property. Sure, there may be a building worth preserving and by all means work to make that happen. Try and find incentives for downtown businesses to renew their façade. Bottom line is that people are attracted to attractive places.
More to come...