Henry Davis Jr. says private investment, not government subsidies are needed to improve city's northwest side

NOW: Henry Davis Jr. says private investment, not government subsidies are needed to improve city’s northwest side

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - Councilman and mayoral candidate Henry Davis, Jr. said private investments, not government subsidies, are needed to improve South Bend's northwest side. Davis's comments come on the heels of Wal-Mart announcing it's shutting down one of its stores in the area while discussions are being held to potentially close Portage Manor and Clay High School.

Councilman Davis addressed the issue during a press conference in the parking lot of the Wal-Mart Friday morning.

According to Davis, the closure and potential closures reinforce the idea of South Bend as a dying city, which does not have to be true with the right support.

The issue also raises concern about access to healthcare, education and food.

Davis heavily criticized South Bend Mayor James Mueller's leadership in the city.

"We need people in positions of authority that had the experience, have the know-how, the will of the people in their hearts in order to get past what we're going through right now. We're suffering."

Mayor Mueller said the following in response to the press conference:

“I am proud of our historic growth and record investment across South Bend, including in neighborhoods forgotten in the past. Although Walmart’s decision is a setback for our community, I thank our Community Investment team and 1st District Councilmember Canneth Lee for their efforts to connect affected workers to new opportunities and bring the building back into active use as soon as possible.

I am encouraged that the County delayed its decision to close Portage Manor and am hopeful that the County will find a solution to continue providing these critical services to our residents in need.

Although Clay High School is not within the City of South Bend, it continues to serve as an important asset to our community. South Bend Schools face tough decisions as they work to right size the district. They are currently working with the community to find the best path forward. The City is looking for more ways to partner with South Bend Schools to strengthen our education system cradle to career."

Caleb Bauer, Executive Director for the city's Department of Community Investment, wrote a letter to Wal-Mart leaders expressing the city's concern over the closure and how many residents depend on that location for groceries and pharmaceuticals.

Bauer told Wal-Mart he hopes the city can learn more about the future of the property and how leaders can help transition the property to be useful after the store closes.

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