Downtown business owner: “Without the city itself doing more, we can kiss (revitalization) goodbye.”

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There was supposed to be a city-sponsored meeting of non-profit organization representatives at The Exchange on Thursday, but it has been postponed, with as yet no reason offered.

As of 6:40 a.m., the Merchant Meeting (downtown business owners) scheduled for The Loft on Spring is a go for 8:30 a.m.

The gang that can’t shoot straight but fancies itself an empire is striking back, but that’s not the point at present. Rather, we don’t always hear from retail operators downtown. What do they think about matters discussed frequently at NA Confidential, pertaining to the business climate, the city’s non-existent economic development plan for downtown, and the like?

Here is the testimony of one, as originally posted as a comment here. I’m not the writer, but as you read, think about this: How might the city of New Albany assist the entirety of downtown in the absence of “tools” for growth in the traditional, chamber of commerce and industrial park sense?

Hint: Two-way streets are a proven boon for independent small business. As components of infrastructure, they function every single day, not just for “special” events that attract attention to the events themselves and actually detract from the scene, and cannot support day-to-day realities.

We wait, and wait.

The revitalization of downtown which has occurred is fading quickly from what I am seeing. In my humble opinion, yes, some restaurants were brought in through the actions of a few. Some opened and not long after closed. Then more arrived and have maintained so far. Then additional retail stores appeared and the growth was looking good. All I have ever truly seen promoted are the restaurants, which is good, but more promotion for all types of businesses is needed. Shame on the city or its powers that be for not doing more and being forward thinking.


What future projects are truly related to continued growth? Adding living quarters downtown is great but not enough.


Many have already come and gone and more leaving. What can be done to continue the excitement and growth? Downtown has been rather dead customer wise the last several months, kinda like it was when I first opened downtown almost ten years ago.


Revitalization?


Billow disappeared, Keg Liquors moved out of downtown, Endris is closing, Aunt Arties Antique Mall is closing, Celtic Connection is next to close, Opal Gypsy is closed more often than open, The Dandy Lion is rarely opened, what use to be the Little Chef has a new tenant but just sitting closed, and who knows what else is coming up. Pretty scary times wouldn’t you say?


Why is this occurring? The revitalization is fading away very quickly. Partly responsible are the business owners themselves, not being dedicated enough possibly. Not enough support from the local community itself in a continuous regular all year round support. No true support from the City in promoting downtown other than the restaurants. We need way more than restaurants for the revitalization to continue.


Shame on Develop New Albany and New Albany First for not doing more and especially the City forces that be and what they haven’t done so far.


I do not have the answers but what revitalization occurred in the past resulted mainly from small business owners taking a chance and choosing downtown New Albany on their own. Some of them did not have the proper business knowledge to succeed for long maybe. Others had enough stamina to last as things occurred and enough business sense to grow.


Some came after seeing a growth happening and wanted to be a part of that.


I guess what I believe is that all of that is good and was happenstance but without the city itself doing more, we can kiss it all goodbye.

There isn’t much to add. I keep thinking of what we’ve been told so consistently by the city’s economic development team: “But there isn’t anything we can do because we don’t have the proper tools to do anything.”

As such, simple logic ordains this conclusion:

If you have been unable to do anything, then you cannot take credit for what has been done.

That’s a tweet I suspect Warren Nash will not favor.

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