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Saturday, March 15, 2008

Buying Local

One of the cornerstone principles of New Urbanism is that a community must be walkable. To be walkable, most of the essential needs of residents should be within a 10 minute walking distance. Schools, shops, dining, and recreation should all be a walkable distance from your house. So far, Kennecott has delivered well on these principles except for two obvious components: shops and dining. Kennecott is currently in negotiations with a variety of possible retail vendors for placement in the Village Center. I have heard different rumors about grocers, coffee shops, bakeries, and the like, but nothing solid yet. In the mean time, we go against the whole philosophy behind Daybreak: we get in our cars and drive to big box retail and grocery stores outside of Daybreak. Now that we have established our purchasing behavior with the big box stores, what will happen when the intended small stores move into Daybreak? These local businesses will have to start out in the shadow of the big box stores and they are right outside the front gate of our community.

The Boyer Company is the company when you are talking about commercial real estate. This company has a portfolio that includes the Gateway, Draper Peaks, Quarry Bend, and the Junction. This is the company that planned and built The District right outside of Daybreak to the East. Kennecott has less than stellar relations with The Boyer Company. In fact they filed a lawsuit against South Jordan on November 3rd of this last year accusing the city of making a back-door deal with The Boyer Company. The deal was to put a high-density housing development right next to Daybreak. This deal would have made a traffic nightmare and did not consider the impact of the surrounding community at all.

So will our local shops survive in a big box world? That question will be answered collectively by the Daybreak community. If we want to be able to walk down the street on a Monday afternoon to buy the meat for a barbecue, fresh produce for a home-made smoothie, or the best lure to catch fish in Oquirrh Lake, then we need to support the local businesses that come to Daybreak. In business you vote with your money. Buy local. But don't just support the local businesses because it is part of the overall Daybreak master plan, do it because of the many benefits gained by everyone:

Local, independently owned businesses are the heart and soul of any community. These are the stores in our neighborhoods; their owners are our friends and neighbors. More often than not, it is the knowledgeable service and attention to your needs that you value and respect in local businesses. What you may not know is that local business contributes more to the local economy, since the money you spend at a local merchant has three times the impact in our local and regional economy. Those who work with local businesses are more likely to earn a living wage and receive benefits. Food that is produced locally is fresher and requires far less energy to transport to market And not insignificantly, it is local business owners who are there with contributions for schools, hospitals, local projects, youth groups, neighborhood functions, and civic projects. They don’t have to go to corporate headquarters for approval. The owners are your neighbors. -Local First Utah

According to the professional brokers flier that has been circulated, Kennecott has signed Black Diamond (rock climbing & multi-sport facility), a baker, a grocer, and will have a music conservatory. I hope they succeed in making Daybreak a truly walkable community.

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