Thoughts About Local Stuff

Downtown Decatur Clock

The Election Results

I wasn’t terribly surprised by any of the election results for city council, except the large number of votes Chuck Kuhle received.  He seemed like a low-key candidate but I guess he must have made a good impression somehow.  He was the only candidate to visit my neighborhood and that did influence my support of him.  It makes a difference.

I didn’t endorse a mayoral candidate but the one that won was the one I voted for.  It was a close race but I expected it to be.

Congratulations to all the winners and best wishes to those who threw their hat in the ring.  I think we’ll have a good mix on the council.

As for the other races, I wasn’t surprised at all by the school board results.  Lots of new faces.  It was disappointing to see that there were no challengers to the one park board seat up for election.  It would be very difficult to beat a long time incumbent but the park district is doing some of the most  important work in the city right now.  I would have thought more people would be interested but again it’s a tough seat to win.

Forsyth’s TIF District?

Forsyth is pursuing creating a TIF district to attract new commercial and residential development.  Personally, I find it a misuse of what TIF districts were designed for.  I don’t think anyone would look at Forsyth and categorize it as blighted or impoverished.  Basically, it’s just an incentive for developers that will get to pocket a lot of money at taxpayer expense over a couple decades.  Yeah, I’d like more restaurant choices in Forsyth but not at the expense of improving areas that truly need help in Decatur.

The Mall

On the topic of Forsyth, the mall is in the headlines nearly every week for another store closing.  It isn’t the fault of the mall but national spending and shopping habits that have changed.  Online shopping is killing big retail but the bright spot, at least for Decatur, is that downtown areas are beginning to thrive again.  People love to shop online but they’re also returning to the heart of their city for social and cultural reasons.  Every city’s downtown is distinct and unique.  There’s no replicating it and a lot of people have realized that.

As for Hobby Lobby and TJ Maxx moving to Forsyth.  I hope they realize the mall is essentially the kiss of death for retail in this area.  Both stores should have stayed in Decatur.  I don’t know who is in charge of their business decisions but they sure don’t know Decatur well.  We want stores closer to home.  That’s another shopping habit that has changed and I think it’s a very good change.



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