"Rich Get Richer, Poor Get Poorer" in Gainesville
Economists say it should serve as a wake up call to some North Central Florida politicians.
According to a US Census study, Gainesville has one of the greatest income inequalities in the country. It's one of the top ten big cities with the largest gaps between high and low income.
"We should be more concerned than perhaps we have been about East Gainesville," said David Denslow Ph.D., a UF economist.
Denslow says the city's large student population is partly to blame, but the lack of opportunities in East Gainesville plays a huge role.
"They don't have factories to work in, they compete with a lot of the university students, for part time jobs, for service jobs," he said.
Denslow says there's an opportunity on the horizon. "Plum Creek," the 65-thousand acres of undeveloped land in Alachua county.
"They could provide jobs for a lot of the people who live in the city, in East Gainesville, if they are able to develop in a way; in conjunction with the university, that provides a lot of employment," he said.
However, some say heavy city and county regulations are crippling developers.
"Our comprehensive land use plan, our environmental protection plans, etc. prevent them from going in a direction that would attract private enterprise," said Laurie Newsom, Gainesville Tea Party President.
"We will stay far below our potential, as a university, as a school system, and as a society, as a city, if we let things keep on going as they have been," said Denslow.
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