Quotes from Poor Jones’ Almanac
“We’re not attracting that many white collar jobs.” — Councilman Smotherman.
‘I’m not a big fan of warehouses and logistical businesses. They don’t create a lot of jobs.” — Greg Flisram, economic specialist at Kendig Keast, the city’s planning consultant. Flisram made the comment in response to a question I asked him at a council meeting.
“Although most economic development budgets are spent on trying to recruit new companies, most job growth is the result of the expansion of existing local companies and new start-up activity.” — The Kendig Keast study that is planning for the next 20 years of rapid growth here.
“Today talent is king, and in … (their) war for mobile, lifestyle-focused talent workers, companies are increasingly following the talent as much as the other way around. … Communities that want to attract high-wage companies would be wise to focus first on attracting workers … (by offering) good public amenities. … The city … shouldn’t try to compete mainly on price and ease of entry, especially at the expense of … talent-attracting investments in quality public services and amenities.” — Kendig Keast.
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What Kendig Keast is saying is that the city is in a heated competition with everyone else to attract desirable white collar jobs. It won’t get there if it continues to rely on the market and developers to plan the city.
More warehouses are not the answer
That approach has gotten us all those warehouses that have chewed up the prime land along Joe B Jackson. The latest rezoning has brought a storage warehouse on Joe B for a petroleum products wholesaler, whose total employment is listed at between 20-49. http://www.manta.com/c/mmyhc3w/key-oil-co In a You Tube video, the company said it has two people on duty all the times at a facility it is relocating to Murfreesboro.
Heavy industry and homes don’t mix
Allowing market forces to rule, has led to undesirable outcomes. First, city councilmen voted inJuly to rezone land on Joe B within a half mile of several housing developments to heavy industry. The reason? A developer says he needs more flexibility than the existing light industry zoning allows in order to bring in new businesses.
Instead of adding more warehouses, local government should take an active planning role in partnership with the business community to get the kind of outcome Councilman Smotherman and everyone is looking for.
A little behind-the-scenes action
Unfortunately, that isn’t happening. Basically, Kendig Keast is telling us what I have advocated since I started this site. Joe B Jackson should be developed as a business park according to a master plan instead of growing in a haphazard, piecemeal way.
I was told by a reliable source that city planners, apparently on direction from above, ordered the consultant to change his recommendation for Joe B Jackson from business park to light industrial. Light industrial does protect nearby homeowners from pollution, noise and vibrations, but recent history has shown it is merely a stepping stone to heavy industry. That’s how we’re getting the oil warehouse right on the edge of the Magnolia Trace subdivision.
Make a pledge to put high-paying, job-creating uses on Joe B Jackson
It would be much harder to rezone Joe B Jackson to heavy industry if council were operating under a plan that declared its aim for the area is to attract corporate offices and research facilities. That type of development would keep talented MTSU grads here and bring in creative people who are assets to any city.
If the council has no concern about protecting homeowners, it might at least act in the best economic interests on the city. That oil wholesaler isn’t creating a lot of jobs, and I assume none of them are going to keep talented MTSU grads around.
If you agree with me, you can make your views known in an email. There are two options. You can: (1) write the consultant. You have to solve a simple arithmetic problem to prove you aren’t a computer or
(2) You can write to the city. Here are the two web addresses and a phone number:
1. You may reach out to the City Manager’s office with questions at (615) 849-2629 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. The consultant: http://www.kendigkeast.com/contact-us
Put “Murfreesboro 2035” in the subject line. Say “I support your recommendation for a business park on Joe B Jackson.”