The Laundromat/Dry Cleaner initiative relates to the MAP Initiative 1.2: Create and implement an economic development plan to expand the number of competitive-wage jobs. Specific business development is not explicitly stated as a goal in MAP, but is understood as a desirable outcome from the other actions described in MAP. The MAP action calls for competitive wage jobs and a small business, like the laundromat, would provide a potential livable income for the owner, and one or two other employees.
Why this is Important
Urban neighborhoods should strive to be complete destinations and be as self -sufficient as possible. This means neighborhoods should provide certain amenities outside of just the structure of the home, but other amenities such as; parks, food, convenience shopping, and other service businesses. The laundromat is one business that caters to a large number of individuals and should be available at the neighborhood level to adequately support the business generated from the population.
This initiative came up in the first neighborhood meeting as something that was missing from the neighborhood, and it serves two primary purposes. The first is the need to have a local laundromat. As stated above, needing a facility to clean clothes affects large portions of neighborhoods and should be available at the local level. The other purpose is to help create a more thriving business district within the neighborhood. Industry has a few streets that have acted as the traditional business corridors. These provide an excellent opportunity to generate interest in the local business community and not need to traverse into other neighborhoods. This initiative was given a Low priority by residents during the March meeting.
What this will Involve
The steps that are necessary to complete this action vary according to the level of interest and the people that choose to become involved.
First and foremost grassroots or natural entrepreneurship is the easiest and best option to solve this. The community should look to see who among them could take on such a role, or potentially knows someone outside of the neighborhood that would be willing to take on such a task. In such a case the small business loans could be utilized to complete this initiative.
Another step that can be made for this initiative is to identify a specific location for the laundromat/dry cleaner and work directly with the city on making sure the site is used for that purpose. Provided is a map showing areas that are best for such an enterprise.
Contact information for funding / assistance sources
Department of Community Development
300 N. High St. City Hall
Muncie, IN 47305-1639
Phone: (765) 747-4825
Fax: (765) 747-4898
Contact: Ms. Terry Whitt Bailey, Director
Johnson City, Tennessee
There are no direct examples of neighborhoods lobbying and funding a laundromat, however, in Johnson City, Tennessee, they developed an ordinance for a neighborhood business district. This ordinance lists acceptable businesses and has some minimal requirements concerning the size of the business and the land use requirements. Among the listed businesses is a laundromat, with a 1500 square foot maximum along with restaurants of less than 2000 square feet and hold less than 40 people. Johnson City uses the B-1 distinction for this district.