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Why Is Andersonville Succeeding? A Thursday Meeting Seeks To Learn More

Aville-1Last year, Redfin predicted that Andersonville would be one of its Top 10 Neighborhoods across the country, putting it in the same category as other smaller neighborhoods and cities near San Diego, San Francisco, Washington, D.C. and Seattle.

The real estate brokerage website brought attention to what many local residents already know, such as how 94 percent of the businesses in the neighborhood are local; how neighborhood residents focus on preserving historic buildings; and how the walkable, community friendly neighborhood feel keeps Andersonville busy, especially on weekend nights.

Now, a community meeting about the future of Andersonville and its businesses is scheduled for Thursday from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Swedish American Museum, 5211 N. Clark St. The free event will offer light refreshments at 6:30 p.m., but seats are limited, so participants are asked to RSVP by emailing rburs@andersonville.org.

The discussion seeks to learn more about how and why Andersonville “went local” and how Andersonville can stay vibrant into the future.

“Dozens of studies and examples from around the globe show that communities filled mostly with locally owned, independent businesses have greater community wealth, are more economically stable, have better levels of community engagement, score higher on happiness indexes, are more environmentally sustainable, and have a stronger sense of community identity and pride,” the Andersonville Chamber of Commerce wrote on its website. “Andersonville was an early adopter of Localist principles and is renowned as a model for other communities.”

Speakers for the event will include outgoing Chamber and Development Corp. Executive Director Ellen Shepard, the creator of Andersonville’s Localist strategies; and Elissa Hillary, executive director of Local First of West Michigan.

Local First seeks to lead the development of an economy grounded in local ownership that meets the basic needs of people; builds local wealth and social capital; functions in harmony with the ecosystem; and encourages joyful community, according to the organization’s website.

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