Friday, January 23, 2009

Does a Goodwill bring good will?

North Natomas is all a buzz about the possibility of a Goodwill taking over the Borders location in Park Place. You can read the tension on Natomas Buzz and Joe Sacramento. People are either against the Goodwill or against people that are against the Goodwill. I've seen very few arguments that are encompassing a positive argument for why a Goodwill is really what North Natomas needs. Calling names, calling us "haters" because we didn't sign up to live next to a thrift store is not productive.

My thoughts from my comments on Joe Sacramento with some additions:

The Goodwill in North Natomas fills a need that is temporary. Sure, the economy is in decline. But when the economy turns around, our neighborhood will not make the same increase if we have fallen apart. I didn't sign up 10 years ago to live next to a thrift store. Supposedly, I was getting a mixed use, neighborhood commercial center that was fully walkable and family friendly. That didn't happen. But I'm not willing to settle and say "It's not walkable, so let's just throw in whatever fits the building." I bought my house on a promise that the City would fulfill a beautiful community plan. If I were opposed to diversity, I wouldn't have bought here- we'd be in Granite Bay. This isn't about diversity. It's about reality of economics. When you swamp an area with low-income housing to meet an arbitrary percentage, you defeat the purpose of mixed residential.

I would like to see a traffic impact study done. Goodwill will no doubt increase the traffic in our neighborhood. I can't imagine that the donations pouring in will amount to the same traffic as one Borders delivery truck. North Bend was not designed to be a retail route. If people start driving in and out that way, the entire neighborhood (including the elementary school) will be impacted. The increased traffic on Natomas Blvd will also be difficult, considering before and after the high school days are already a nightmare.

Goodwill is not the best we can do. It's better than the Dollar Store idea. But I'm very concerned how a change will impact the other tenants in the center. Adding one Goodwill and losing 5 locally owned businesses as a result, is a major problem. I don't think we could stand to lose Jacks, Dinner My Way, Strings, Mathnasium, Big Spoon etc. in that center because people are either afraid (rightfully or not) to shop there, or because the new clientele attracted doesn't have the cash. Sorry- few will convince me that folks will go to Goodwill after work, do a little shopping and then drop $40 at Strings for dinner very often. Highly unlikely the same clients buy fancy shoes from the Shoes N Feet, get frozen dinners or for a week at Dinner My Way. One retailer can change the entire dynamic of a center.

People all over Natomas need to grow up, stop slinging mud and stand up for what we all committed to either 10 years ago or 30. If you're in South Natomas, you have just as much right to be mad at the City. But it's time to DO SOMETHING. Don't just complain that everyone in North Natomas is whining. We all bought into an idea of a community near downtown, close to the airport, with great schools, nice parks and high quality community activities. I don't think you can find one person here who said "Hey I think I'll rent a crappy apartment in a bad school district where the city lies to me, the parks are covered with graffiti and I'm afraid to go shopping." Not one person chose to live here saying that.


C-had said...

Thanks for the great article. Can someone please contact me about the window framing issue in their home? I may have the same issue and might be able to help.

The Buzz said...

Well done.

Joe Sacramento said...

"I've seen very few arguments that are encompassing a positive argument for why a Goodwill is really what North Natomas needs.."

I have made quite a few. I will recapitulate..

In my opinion, fighting Goodwill is fighting effects, not root causes. I feel Goodwill is an effect of low income housing. I say if you're going to fight something, fight the incoming wave of low income housing about to wash ashore here in North Natomas. Unless we get to the root causes of why Goodwill wants to set up here in the first place, we're only prolonging the inevitable.


SacramentoBlog said...

You have made several arguments, agreed. However, to me it's a chicken/egg thing. If we agree to allow the Goodwill, then we ARE a low-income neighborhood. That completely decimates the argument against low income housing and our 15% rule. Because of course, if the infrastructure is built, if the stores are supportive of the community, why wouldn't they continue to hammer us?

That center is zoned neighborhood commercial. There are many better places for a Goodwill that meet the needs of the population and will have less impact on the immediate residential areas.

Heck, you can't even get there by bus except on the third Tuesday of the month if it's raining or something! There are more connected, more efficient locations that serve the target audience without causing dramatic changes to a retail center.