Saturday, December 31, 2005

Does Mt. Pleasant Need More Low Wage Jobs?

When the first bulldozers begin churning up ground in a few weeks off of Bluegrass Road behind the Indian Hills Mall, a nagging question comes up about the hundreds of thousands of new square feet of shopping coming to Mt. Pleasant and the hundreds of jobs expected to come from the new big box stores. Does Mt. Pleasant really need them?

Most area shoppers know that Mt. Pleasant doesn't have the best shopping in the state and most go over to Midland or Saginaw or down to Lansing for "serious" shopping or even down to Alma or up to Clare or Traverse City for "niche" shopping.

With unemployment in Isabella County at just about 3% while our neighbors to the north and south suffer from rates twice as high, there is obviously a need for more jobs in the region, but not necessarily here. The advocates of the "market is everything" approach to economics would say we don't have much choice.

But here in Isabella County where decisions on development especially in the Republican controlled Union Township are made under the radar, there is little opportunity for community awareness before developments are a done deal. Now that we know that the Wal-Mart Supercenter and Sam's Club are on the way, what can or should we do about it.

At the ICDP we feel the first thing we need to understand is how did it happen and what does it mean. What will be the positive and negative impacts on our community. We will begin that discussion on Thursday, Jan. 5 at 7 p.m. at the Isabella County Office Building in the County Commsisioners Meeting Room. The topic is "The Impact of the Walmartization of Mt. Pleasant."
It's another one of those gatherings sponsored by the local Democratic Party to bring awareness to issues that affect your life.


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