Comment 37876

By Meredith (registered) - website | Posted February 06, 2010 at 18:53:50

Mahesh wrote: If you can convince me that religion will bring economic growth in our core - I'll say lets have even more places of worship and education from all religious faiths and orders - on all our remaining vacant lands.

For an elaboration on how places of worship add to urban revitalization, there's a couple research publications I've read, all put out by Cardus (based on Young Street here)

"Living on the Streets" is Hamilton-specific They also have "Toronto the Good" contains links to download them

I have a copy of their third publication, "Think Different - Urban Religious Communities: Problem Solvers or Trouble Makers?" if you (or anyone else) would like to borrow it, and was at the launch event. I almost wrote an article about it but didn't have the time.

Here's one paragraph from "Living on the Streets"

Presently the City of Hamilton is looking for ways to revitalize its city centre. An important step in this process will include identifying potential places of growth. If churches can 1) grow community, 2) promote community service, 3) attract people to live downtown, 4) draw private investment, and 5) add beauty to the physical appearances of community – five themes emerging consistently from our study – they represent enormous potential for the very kind of growth the City of Hamilton is interested in promoting.

As a microcosm from my own experience, since we moved into our current church building at King and Locke, three vacant storefronts have been filled - within a year. We've been able to extend youth programs and financial groups, and give food out - to and through people that are tenants or neighbours of the businesses nearby. The media production company nearby films in our building. The local community organization uses our basement. Other community organizations use it. We do income taxes for hundreds of people. One of those projects was already underway. We've been quoted by nearby businesses as "being the biggest draw in the neighbourhood" throughout the week as well as on Sundays.

Landscaping and adding beauty is coming slowly. Bike racks are finally in the works and the person who volunteered the landscaping had a bad year with the recession.. but we hope to get that done this year so a parking lot isn't the only thing facing the street.

In discussion on the creation of a BIA in the neighbourhood, we've even discussed paying the BIA levy, although we're exempt from taxes. Why not?

Comment edited by Meredith on 2010-02-06 17:58:01

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