I just heard from Ingrid Ault, the Executive Director of Think Local First, that her organization has been awarded a $5,000 grant from the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority to study the feasibility of a local currency here in the Ypsi-Arbor area. And, as it’s something we’ve discussed passionately here in the past, I thought that I should mention it… Following are the three questions Ingird and her folks have been charged with answering.
1) Would the Washtenaw County community embrace a local currency?
2) If yes, what local currency model would the community like to see put into place?
3) Would the new currency system encourage community members to support local independently owned businesses at a higher rate?
And, toward that end, they’ll be hosting three public meetings in order to present the models that they’ve identified (including those employed in the BerkShares and Ithaca Hours programs), and solicit community feedback. According to Ingrid, “The meeting format will allow participants to view informational materials at their leisure, ask questions, and finally to cast a ballot for the option that they feel best meets the needs of the community.”
Here’s the meeting schedule:
• Tuesday February 23, 2010 at the downtown branch of the Ann Arbor District Library in the lower lever multi-purpose room (343 South Fifth Ave, Ann Arbor)
• Thursday February 25, 2010 at the Ypsilanti Senior Center (1015 North Congress, Ypsilanti)
• Wednesday March 3, 2010 at the Vitosha Guest Haus Inn (1917 Washtenaw Avenue, Ann Arbor)
All meetings are open to the public and will run between 6:00 PM and 8:00 PM.
And, if you’re interested in this subject, please come back to the site in a week or so, when I hope to have an interview with Ingrid on the various options on the table, next steps, etc.