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As the negotiations for the Trinity Site between the County and the North American Development Group (NADG) approached the agreement stage, I began to get an uneasy feeling about this arrangement. In 2005, when the initial concept for this development conjured up images of a unique gathering placed with multiple opportunities for retail and eclectic mix of restaurants, café’s, entertainment venues and a Canyon Rim Trail, I was all for it. Since then, we have witnessed one of the worst economic periods since the depression and, quite frankly conditions have changed. We are not living in the same economy as we were in 2005.
The recession saw the collapse of numerous big box chains like Circuit City. According to experts, this collapse has helped send vacancy rates soaring. After three years on the brink, consumer confidence has improved but it is reasonable to expect a new normal when it comes to retail spending. Unemployment remains high in the state and in the nation. The days of unlimited credit are over as many analysts predict that a new “consumer frugality” will be the norm to come. If the current plan comes to fruition, the future of our schools becomes soldered to the success of a big box in an economy many experts believe will not sustain strip malls and big boxes.
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