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Posts Tagged ‘economy’

I’ve been calling for this since I’ve been writing this blog.  I’d like to see more attention paid to Old Village.  It’s a great part of town.

It appears that, in spite of the lousy economy nationally and here in our state, business is growing (or at least holding steady) in Old Village.   New businesses are opening and the old ones moving forward.

Once again, I’ll repeat that I wish the City would support business development there and not just in the downtown.  The people of Old Village have to promote their own area, which I find a bit disconcerting.  Maybe that’s why things are hopping there.  The community is promoting itself.

Here’s an interesting article from the Plymouth Eagle on Old Village “breathing new life” into town.

http://www.journalgroup.com/Plymouth/10839/historic-old-village-breathes-new-life-into-plymouth

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The March 15, 2009, Plymouth Observer reported that officials of the Plymouth-Canton School District are trying to get their hands on millions of dollars in federal stimulus money.  The funds wouldn’t got to keeping teachers employed, anything to improve the curriculum or even balance the budget, but would got to several so-called “green” initiatives.

Superintendent Craig Fiegel enlisted the aid of a pair of consultants who have helped the district craft some $13 million in renewable energy projects slated for buildings across the district.The two drawing the most attention are a plan to cool off the gymnasiums, particularly at Plymouth High School, which can reach temperatures as high as 95 degrees during the summer, and covered, solar-heated walkways to provide cover for students moving between the Plymouth Canton Educational Park’s three buildings.

http://www.hometownlife.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2009903150529

The school district wants to spend the money on heated sidewalks and cooling a gymnasium during the summer — when are school gyms used in the summer? — while the district is looking to be $7.4 million in the red next in 2010-11.

If the Plymouth-Canton school board does nothing else and the numbers crunch the way the district’s financial team has planned, there will be enough money in the district’s projected $2 million deficit in 2009-10.

It’s the following year that really presents problems.

As budget predictions sit now, the school district faces a potential $7.4 million deficit in 2010-11, when it will have only about $2.5 million in its fund equity.

http://www.hometownlife.com/article/20090319/NEWS15/903190691/1032

What kind of sense does any of this make?  Our leaders want to cover and heat sidewalks while the school district is about ready to start hemorrhaging cash?

Maybe the argument is that stimulus money is supposed to be spent on projects that create jobs, not balancing budgets.  Even so, I see the school district’s proposals as madness — stupidity — in light of anticipated massive budget deficits.

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Admittedly, I don’t have an ounce of raw data to back up what I am about to say.  I’m going simply by the good old “eyeball test.”

It appears that business is OK in downtown Plymouth.  It is entirely possible that a lot of the businesses downtown are hauling in less profit.  Some might be losing money.  But when I drive through downtown, I see lots of activity.  It seems that people are still eating, drinking and shopping there.   We hear nothing but doom and gloom about the economy, but traffic and bodies downtown suggests to me that people are still doing what they’ve been doing for years.

There are a few businesses that have closed in the past year.  That’s nothing new, though.   Businesses downtown come and go in cycles, even in good times.  I’ve seen it over the years.  Besides, while there have been a few places that closed downtown, Old Village seems to be growing, with a few new businesses coming in.

I would be fascinated to see the data.  I could be completely wrong.  I hope all the busy-ness I see is a sign that we’re getting through these difficult economic times.

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According to an article in the January 8, 2009, Plymouth Observer (“Kettle drive soars past 2008 goal), the local Salvation Army’s Christmas kettle drive raised more than the goal set and exceeded 2007’s donations.

Our local Salvation Army, which serves the Plymouths, the Northvilles, Canton and Belleville, set a pre campaign goal for 2008 of $235,000.  Frankly, given the difficult economic times we are in, Salvo officials didn’t expect to meet the goal.  Instead, they blew past it!  2008 kettle donations were over $244,000!

I did one “shift” as a bell ringer at the Ann Arbor Road/Sheldon Kroger and I noticed a lot of shoppers donating bills.  In my past experience, most givers leave pocket change, but this last time I noticed a lot of cash donations.  My experience is exactly what the Plymouth area Salvation Army found generally.  According to Major Jim Irvine (as quoted in the Plymouth Observer article):

We had people who knew we were hurting, and they came out nonstop to ring the bells,” Irvine said. “It was people passing the kettles who knew their families were hurting. We didn’t get any single big-check donations, as we’ve had in the past. It was all the one-dollar, five-dollar and 10-dollar donations people were putting in that made all the difference.

http://www.hometownlife.com/article/20090108/NEWS15/901080671/1032

I’m really impressed that goals were exceeded in such hard times.  Maybe hard times simply bring out the best in people.

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As I said in an earlier post, I did Salvation Army bell ringing at the Kroger in Plymouth Twp. last night.  What stood out was truly how generous people can be, especially in these tough times.

All we hear about on the news these days are the economy (nothing but bad news) and bailouts.  In this area, hundreds of thousands of people are on pins and needles over the possible (and soon) collapse of General Motors and Chrysler.  The Metro-Detroit area is already in much worse shape than the rest of the country and any automotive industry collapse would put our area in a Great Depression-like state.

I talked to one man last night who had a job at one of the factories right here in town.  He hasn’t worked for over a year since that business cut its staff down to a “skeleton crew.”  He lost his rental property and has been forced to move in with his elderly mother until he can find employment that pays well enough to allow him to live on his own.

Even with all that, he put cash in the red kettle.   During my shift, there were probably roughly 100 donors and the overwhelming majority of them gave cash.   Very few folks gave change.  I saw lots of $5 bills and multiple bill donations go in the kettle.  Trust me, I’m not judging the value of one person’s gift over another.  Cash. Change. It’s all good.  The point is that it seemed like most folks were pretty generous in their giving.

It made me feel good.  I was pleased to see that even when things are bad, many people are still willing to give their money to help complete strangers.  I don’t know how many shoppers I encountered were from Plymouth, but I think it’s a smart bet that most of them were from here since that is probably the closest major grocery store to the City and much of the township.

So, cheers to the great people of Plymouth (and Canton, Westland, Northville, Livonia, etc.) for your generosity and giving spirit.

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I’VE NOTICED THIS POST STILL GETS HITS EVEN THOUGH THE EVENT IS NEARLY A MONTH PAST.  IF YOU NEED ASSISTANCE WITH FOOD, OR KNOW A FAMILY IN NEED, CALL TRINITY CHURCH AT (734) 459-9550.  AS OF SUNDAY, THE CHURCH HAD FOOD BASKETS AVAILABLE FOR NEEDY FAMILIES.

Gleaners Food Bank and Trinity Church have partnered to distribute food to needy families in our area.  Here are the details about the distribution:

WHEN — Saturday, November 8, 2008

WHERE — KMart parking lot, Ann Arbor Road and Haggerty Road

WHO —  If you or your family need food, you qualify

HOW — Call Trinity Church (734.459.9550), Monday through Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. to reserve a pick-up time.  Arrive at the K Mart parking lot at your designated time to pick up food.  The receptionist who schedules your pick-up time does not have information regarding the specific food to be distributed that day.

If you are not in need but know a person or family that is, please pass along this information to him/them.

Thanks.

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