“As businesses leave, and you patronize businesses outside of your locale, then there’s no money being put back into your community at all.”
Produced by Rebecca Werner with interviews recorded by StoryCorps, a national nonprofit whose mission is to provide Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to record, share, and preserve the stories of our lives. www.storycorps.org
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Transcript for The Snowball Effect
Merrillville, when it dis-annexed, and they built the mall, then they built U.S. 30 and all of that down on U.S. 30, Gary lost a ton of business, and, of course, people.
Now, I moved back to Gary in ’87. I was gone from Gary for six years, and I saw a change. Once people started getting older and dying off, their properties just sat, and so I started to see an increase in the number of abandoned homes in the neighborhood. In the late 90s, that’s when we got the last punch of the businesses moving out of the city because the village did have a JCPenneys, and Goldblatt’s was still there.
You had a Montgomery Ward.
When they left, there was not a store in Gary where you could get a decent towel, or a set of sheets. That hurt. That was a little depressing, because now, you have to go to Merrillville. And there was some people that tried their best to avoid shopping in Merrillville — we want to keep the dollars in Gary.
There’s no place to go.
You had no option at that point, because you couldn’t keep your dollars in Gary at that point because there’s not a decent grocery store, there’s no store for you to get a good quality clothing, sheets, towels, so you weren’t left with any option; you had to go to Merrillville or you had to go to — people would go into River Oaks, and some people actually went to River Oaks over in Chicago just because they were anti-Merrillville.
That’s kind of Lansing. That’s more like Lansing.
But even then, those tax dollars didn’t stay in Gary. If you had to spend your money outside of Gary, those communities benefit from it. So that just, you know, the snowball effect. As businesses leave, and you patronize businesses outside of your locale, then you’re — there’s no money being put back into your community at all.
So, then there’s no growth.