A bi-monthly newsletter investigating the people, places, and policies shaping Waco’s economy.
I'm Austin Meek, Vox of Waco Business News and host of "Downtown Depot," the radio show and podcast where we track the ins and outs of Waco business. Listen live on Fridays at 11:30AM on 103.3 KWBU-FM or stream previous episodes of "Downtown Depot" anytime via Apple Podcasts, NPR, and Waco Business News.
The Waco Business Newsletter: July 14, 2019
A post of mine about a planned entertainment center exploded on social media last week, reaching more than 93,000 people through likes, shares, and comments with zero dollars spent on promotion . I've had a handful of posts go viral, but never something this massive, which tells me two things: 1) Wacoans are hungry for more family-friendly entertainment like what Schulman's MBG will provide, and 2) the reach of the Waco Business News platform is more powerful than ever. If your business is interested in advertising on the website, radio show, social media, or newsletter, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss further! Thanks for your support. (Waco Business News on Facebook)
Holly Tucker, a local Texas country recording artist, joined me on the last episode of "Downtown Depot" to discuss the economics of music making in 2019 and how she's trying to reclaim "country." (Waco Business News)
This spotlight on Air Force veteran-turned-videographer Jake McGhee is heartwarming. (Waco Business News)
As I announced on "Downtown Depot" two episodes ago, the historic Kestner's building at 501 Elm Avenue has been purchased by Kevin Durkin, a Homestead Heritage member whose partners are also developing the East Waco Food Hub a few blocks away. Durkin has experience restoring old buildings and should do a great job with this jewel. Previous owner Sam Brown's quotes are laudable and in line with his vision for a community-oriented Elm Avenue corridor. (The Waco Tribune-Herald)
Trib staff did a great job of compiling photos of the mural work happening on buildings around downtown. (The Waco Tribune-Herald)
Salt Lake City, above, is one of America's fastest growing metro areas for creatives, according to City Lab. A number of second- and third-tier cities have exploded in the last twelve years while traditional powerhouses like San Francisco and New York City have been plagued by housing crises and a national shift to remote work. A burgeoning creative class is a hallmark of future growth: as Fiona Bond of Creative Waco always says, "Arts and culture spur economic development!" (City Lab)
Presidential candidate Andrew Yang, vying for the nomination in a crowded Democratic field, has differentiated himself with an interesting policy: the American Mall Act. The program would devote $6 billion to finding new purposes for these dying retail complexes, of which 300 are projected to close by 2022 and many will face continued hardship from the rise of e-commerce. (Yang 2020)
Dangerous by Design: we all know that American streets are designed for cars, not people. However, politicians are finally admitting that the country is in the midst of an astonishing health crisis: leaders in the House and Senate have put forward The Complete Streets Act of 2019, which would require states to adopt standards that support safer streets. The number of people stuck and killed by drivers while walking increased by 35 percent over the last decade, and the risks are far greater for people walking in low-income communities, older adults, and people of color, according to a new study. (Smart Growth America)
Last week in Montreal, Quebec, 48 streets earned city designations as "free-play zones," which mandates more signage and lower speed limits for cars to allow kids to play on the street safely. Streets are public space, paid for by everyone, and are meant for more than just drivers! (The Globe and Mail)
The I-45 expansion project in Houston looks worse the further it goes on. Not only will it lower the City's tax base by eliminating space for existing businesses that affect 25,000 jobs, it will likely lead to further northward development the area's diminishing forest and prairie lands. It will wipe out homes, churches, and businesses. This major transfer of wealth from the city to the suburbs seems environmentally, historically, and culturally unfriendly. But hey, it makes our I-35 traffic concerns in Waco feel like a breeze! (Houston Chronicle)