Letter to NAC: “You need to support your existing businesses with facts, not wants.”


This excerpt from the minutes of last month’s merchant meeting caught the attention of regular reader Mike Ladd.

The next merchant meeting is July 19 at 8:30 a.m. at Cafe 157.

“L.R. said A study was done of what was needed Downtown in the early 90”s and might be of interest for us to take a look at now. He thought it was in the redevelopment office (John Rosenburger’s office L. also suggested we play off more on Louisville and the boat to draw people to our area.”

Ladd, former head of the formerly independent New Albany Urban Enterprise Association, writes:

Admittedly, every day I read your blog I see more clearly why New Albany is behind its neighbors in Clark County. A study from the 1990s is not really going to do much for 2016 New Albany.

More recently, there is a 2010 Market Study paid for by the (now apparently defunct) Urban Enterprise Zone, showing exactly what types of business the town can support. And that’s exactly the point: it’s not about the types of businesses you want; it’s about the types of businesses you can support.

This administration has good information under its nose and refuses to use it. In fact, if local business community members were smart, they’d push for an update of this report; it’s about a year past due. But then again, I remember the city economic development director (and I’m using air quotes with that title) telling me he doesn’t believe in market studies.

How are you supposed to know what your city can support if you don’t gather the intelligence that tells you? It’s not so much about wish lists — you can bring in what you want, but if you can’t support it, what good does it do you?

You need to support your existing businesses with facts, not wants.