It’s been a long fight as Fox 7 Reporter Rudy Koski pointed out in a 2010 interview with me and people who were pro or anti a big supercenter in the center of Austin at Northcross Mall.
Are people tired of it? Some are. Almost five years is a long time to keep volunteers working together on an issue.
This interview story was not my first choice for 15 seconds of fame, but I was glad to be asked to respond as a business owner who offices next to the WalMart site and as Business Liaison Chair for Responsible Growth for Northcross (RG4N). I learned a lot in the process and so did people on both sides of the issue. Now, RG4N and I will wait and see how it goes. We could all live happily ever after or there could be more black empty holes and store fronts — including WalMart. I promise you, I will be watching closely.
I am glad I took part in the democratic process. It reassured me it is ok to dissent with anyone even if it is unpopular. It is a messy process. I may not agree with everyone on each side, but I will defend their right to speak and I expect them to defend mine. And, I saw this up close and personal.
There is still a WalMart going in on streets that are not designed to handle the traffic, security issues must be paramount going forward because of homes and schools nearby, and air and water quality need to be addressed before it is too late.
Northcross Mall is now Northcross strip center. It was not doing well before, maybe it will do well now. Maybe it will all work out.
Some good things happened. Neighbors met neighbors from other neighborhoods and worked with them to have a say about a future that seemed predestined because of the powers in charge. Neighbors worked directly with the people behind the independent businesses that make our area unique. They saw them as people who were just as interested and committed to the health and well being of our area as they were. Equally important, finally the City of Austin recognized us as a united group, the Northcross IBIZ, an Austin Independent Business Investment Zone, that also had rights and that they had responsibilities to protect. (Read my related post and another related post by the Austinist.)
Being a business owner not just about sales and the bottom line. It is also being an activist for your community and your business — even in tough times.
Next time someone asks “will you serve? “, say yes. It will change your life and the lives of others.
What are you doing to “serve”?