Please note that this message is intended to only address Main Street business issues. I understand that there are many aspects to the broader TOD and development discussion which will be addressed in other messages.
There was one business owner at the public hearing on September 8th that made a comment that deserves a follow-up. His point was that Main Street will be harmed by the TOD. Actually he said the city was selling-out Main Street. I do not know if that view is wide spread among the business community so I wish to develop the argument and explain why I believe the TOD will be a benefit to Main Street.
We are working hard to make a good zoning law that will contain non-competitive language for Main Street businesses. At this point it will limit business to water and TOD related types and limit their individual size. Agreed, if successful this will not completely remove competitive businesses but it will help to keep them to a minimum.
More importantly I believe the majority of businesses on Main Street are not just struggling now, but have been even before the economic downturn. Beacon has never had a large enough customer base for our shops to thrive. I’ve seen good business go out and know that some are holding on out of sheer hope and belief in their community. This is a challenge I take to heart. I strongly believe the development planned in Beacon including the TOD will HELP, not harm our Main Street businesses. Help will come in the form of the approximate 20% population growth this development will represent. Approximately 1,500 new units give the businesses on Main Street more than 3,000 new potential customers. That simply has to help. It was one of the reasons I supported the conclusions of the Comprehensive Plan.
But let’s just look at the TOD zone and assume that no other development will take place. That’s 600 units or 1,200 more customers for Main Street. Yes there will be a commercial and retail component but I completely reject the idea that customers who now shop/dine on Main Street will be sucked down to the TOD (forever) and stop going to their favorite places on Main. And I completely reject the notion that the TOD residents will only stay in their zone afraid to venture out. That too will not happen. I firmly believe the 1,200 new residents will browse Main Street, find their favorite shops, galleries and restaurants. They will be attracted to Main Street and adopt Beacon the way we all have. Maybe they will walk; maybe they will drive to Main Street like most of the city. Hopefully we will find a way to get a subsidized shuttle as soon as possible or perhaps there will be enough ridership for it to be privately operated.
Lastly, if the TOD is designed well it may also bring new people into Beacon to see it. It may add to our general tourism appeal. It may help to get DIA visitors out of the museum and give them incentive to walk up Main Street by starting at the TOD. It may provide the finances to make a shuttle bus feasible. It may do none of those things but the fact of the matter is that the TOD zone alone will provide Beacon’s Main Street with a potential of 1,200 more potential customers. When combined with the other developments the total of 3,000 customers is the single fact that Main Street businesses should be looking forward to taking place.
For all that you do...write on BCN. Most of the folks I know who write on here, whether they agree or disagree with the subject at hand are also INVOLVED (volunteering, organizing and actively working for change) So sorry, thanks....for........zzzzzzzzzzzzzz
Big Pimpin said:
Jill...I am not sure what you are expecting of a chat room....if not words then what else???