Local businesses are the heartbeat of our community. According to the Institute for Local Self Reliance, local businesses pay higher wages, give back a larger portion of their surplus to local charities, seek to create value chains with other local business owners and are more conscious of the social and environmental well-being of their host communities.
Unfortunately Morgantown's city government does not seem to understand the value of fostering a spirit of local entrepreneurship. In 2014, a new Sheetz, a Starbucks, a CVS and a Panera (corporations who have little interest in reinvesting in our community) will be invading our downtown. Something is broken in our city's planning policies that must be addressed!
The new Sheetz at 1012 University Ave will increase traffic and air pollution in a section of the city that has already been cited as failing air quality standards by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Beyond the poor aesthetics of a Sheetz, the city is at risk of losing important federal funding if the air pollution (ie. traffic) issue is not remediated soon, yet current planning decisions are completely incongruent with the reality of the situation. Is there a need for a new gas station when we already have seven within a two mile radius?
The new Starbucks at 419 High St. and the new Panera Bread at the top of High Street will take business away from our locally owned coffee shops and bakeries in the downtown district including but not limited to The Grind, Café Mojo, Slight Indulgence, Blue Moose Café, New Day Bakery, The Cupcakerie. The consequences of this loss are immense. Not only as wages are lost and local suppliers suffer but also as the character, atmosphere and ethos of our city are compromised.
The new CVS at 493 Spruce St is a travesty. The locally owned Waterfront Family Pharmacy right off of the rail trail will suffer a business loss. Mountain People's Co-Op one of the longest operating local businesses in the city (owned by the local community) will be overshadowed as a local grocer option as well.
These are but a few examples of the local planning issues that we face as concerned city residents. Please lend your name to this petition if you care about our Morgantown local business community and want see policy changes in our city governement.