Over the past three weeks I’ve explained what improved transparency looks like, how historic preservation can be an economic development strategy and how City Hall is letting down the Noblesville taxpayer.
The fourth principle of my campaign is to maintain our small-town values, emphasizing responsible development with a preference for locally owned businesses and a dense and thriving urban core.
Let’s take these one at a time.
Small town values are easy to define. Do you know your neighbors? Do you know the people you do business with? Are you connected to your city? Do you know its history, what makes it distinct from other communities? Do you have a social safety net? Can you age in place? Do you want your kids to raise their families here? Are you getting good value for your tax dollar and, if not, do you know how to change that? These are just some of the values common to small towns that become more difficult to maintain as a community grows. Government can play a role in fostering these values and I am committed to keeping them in mind as mayor.
Responsible development has those values as a driving force. Do our neighborhoods connect us to each other and to the services we need to thrive? Do they give us opportunity at all life stages: starting out, raising a family, retiring and living out our lives without being displaced? Do they offer opportunity for people of all social strata and income levels? Do we have a reliable and diverse base of business that provides good jobs? Is our development friendly to the environment? Does our development add value, both to our quality of life and to our tax base?
Why locally-owned businesses? Because they keep money and talent in the community. I have worked for both local and national businesses and I’ve seen the effect each has on a community. I appreciate the resources and opportunities that a large, out of town business can provide, but ultimately they are here to make money and that will drive their decisions. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s a different agenda than a business with owners that live here, work here, shop here, worship here and send their kids to our schools. I believe those businesses deserve more attention.
Finally, a dense and thriving urban core sets the tone for the rest of the city. Density done right is a very efficient use of resources and adds a vibrancy that is appealing to both businesses and residents. You attract new business by providing a capable and talented workforce and you attract the workforce by building a thriving and vibrant city. I will give our downtown the attention it deserves.