Letters to the Editor

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TACOMA: What’s really needed downtown

Letter by Matthew Jones, Tacoma on Jan. 29, 2013 at 12:14 pm with No Comments »
January 29, 2013 2:15 pm

Re: “State Farm considering expansion in Tacoma?” (TNT, 1-21).

We spend a lot of time talking about supporting small local businesses here in Tacoma, and we hear a lot about the impact these businesses have on revitalizing downtown. I have friends who run small businesses, and I surely love supporting their businesses – eating and shopping locally.

But will we ever build a truly vibrant downtown Tacoma through small business? While I know many who will disagree, our time would be better spent if Tacoma spent as much time talking publicly about attracting major employers as we do about supporting small local businesses.

Can we see a concerted effort by the city and its people to attract corporate branches of Microsoft, Amazon, Starbucks, Intel, etc., rather than fighting potential developers because their hotel may or may not use union labor?

It’s unrealistic to expect small businesses to lead in developing vacant lots in our city’s core or draw thousands more people to live, work and shop downtown. However major corporations can.

We’ve got a good lead with State Farm; I hope that the various Tacomans involved can close the deal by any means necessary. I’ll leave that to the City Council and Economic Development Board to decide what that means. But ask any small business owner downtown what they really want, and I guarantee the answer is more people walking, working, eating and shopping downtown.

State Farm, we welcome you.

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