New I-71 interchange could open growth spigot in Delaware County
Local economy could reap $965 million, consultant says
Tuesday, May 24, 2011 03:06 AM
By Allison Manning
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH
A new interchange either north or south of the interchange at I-71 and Rts. 36/37 could bring more than relief for commuters. It could lure nearly $1 billion in new business to the region.
…Consultant and economist Cheryl Baxter of Chicago-based BaxStarr Consulting Group said that with a new, more business- and commuter-friendly interchange, she sees the county adding 1 million square feet each of retail and office space by 2039, plus another 1 million square feet of industrial, warehouse or manufacturing space. Two 150-room hotels also could be built, as could 800 housing units.
Baxter said that under those conservative estimates, she expects to see $965 million injected into the region and nearly 6,400 new jobs over 25 years.
And in that period, the county, villages and townships could see $533 million in tax revenue, including $5million in sales taxes alone in 2030.
County Economic Development Director Gus Comstock said the study puts a figure on the development potential of a region that he sees becoming a more-diverse Polaris.
A “more diverse Polaris.” That’s how the Director of Economic Development in Delaware County envisions the land development resulting from a new interchange either north of or south of 36/37 in Delware County. I’m not sure exactly what that means, but I’m imagining another shopping mall, huge offices, and big box retail separated by wide, high-speed roads with no sidewalks and giant parking lots. Except now there will be a token residential component (800 housing units) to be “more diverse.” He’s likely correct. I predicted the same thing here. But does it have to be this way? Do we want more of this?
Does anyone actually think that this is an efficient way to organize our built environment? Is there some kind of contest to see how much land per person we can pave? Why on earth would we want to build another one of these? One should be enough to know that we never want to see something this ugly again. Yet, we continue to build it over and over again throughout the entire country. Maybe I’m the only one who thinks it is ugly and wasteful. Or maybe just me and the readers of blogs like this.
I’m not opposed to growth, I would just rather it be smart growth than dumb growth. My alternative suggestion; require all new development to be LEED-ND certified. Please.