The data is in, and it is concerning. Â A quick look at our city’s recent census data release proves that most of the city’s urban core is still depopulating. Â We can not afford to say as a state that certain segments of the population areÂ no longer welcome. Â In fact, we should be taking the opposite approach, and welcome new blood with new ideas.
Immigration is a sign of an economically healthy city. Â Imagine throwing caution to the wind and traveling a great distance to arrive at a place where you can’t find a job. Â In fact, immigration has slowed in this country as a result of our economic downturn. Â Exceptions can always be made, but when the economy was humming, immigrants were coming here to make life better for themselves and their families. That’s exactly what my ancestors did when they arrived from Germany over a century ago. Â Indeed, immigration is a continuation of our country’s history.
There are practical benefits for cities to encourage immigration. Â I challenge anyone to explain how they would populate geographically large areas like West Washington Street or Lafayette Square without a bustling immigrant community. Â Otherwise, these buildings would likely be abandoned and the neighborhoods would continue to deteriorate.
The Gay Community
The benefits of welcoming the gay community into depressed urban areas have been well documented. Â Chatham Arch or the Old Northside could possibly still be struggling neighborhoods were it not for urban pioneers, many of whom were planning to be without children, which lessens their need for improved schools. Â I believe good schools should be paramount for any city, but if you want to turn around a neighborhood fast, becoming gay-friendly is an almost sure-fire winner.
Immigrants and the gay community are vital to a vibrant and attractive city. Â With black families nowÂ starting to join whites in the suburbs, someone will have to fill the gaps left behind, and the communities previously mentioned can be key components of revitalizing neighborhoods. Â Otherwise, Indy risks becoming a donut in reverse: Strong periphery and core, with a hollowed out area in-between. Â Indeed, in many cases around the city, this is already true. Â Hanging a “You’re Not Welcome” sign at the state border would only serve to exacerbate the problem.