ISU Impacts Local Economy

By Melissa Crash

Published 08/16 2014 04:13PM

Updated 08/16 2014 11:44PM

Universities can bring a significant economic impact to a city, and with incoming students at Indiana State University making their way back to campus, downtown Terre Haute is expecting to see a boost in daily sales.

Students are back in action at Indiana State, and with ISU creeping closer to downtown each year, businesses are expecting to see more customers stopping by.

Jeff Habermal, the Owner of J-Gumbo's said, "You start to feel a heartbeat back downtown again, and you can see a little more energy come around and it has a rather large effect."

According to Economic Professor Robert Guell, Terre Haute's economy is about 6 billion dollars, with ISU attributing approximately 310 million of that total. As Indiana State keeps growing, so is the local economy.

"That the more shops that are downtown, the more businesses that are downtown, the more viable is downtown and it's more viable because of the students. You have an increase property tax base and higher incomes for everybody involved," said Guell.

During the summer months, officials say expect no waiting time for your favorite local restaurant, but come August, be ready to take a number.

"The biggest impact I think is in the hospitality industry," said Guell.

Restaurants like J-Gumbo's made the decision to move locations, to attract not only students, but business professionals downtown.

"We wanted to be associated with a little bit of the redevelopment and it's worked out pretty good," said Habermal.

And location is key.

"By the university stepping up and picking up some of the buildings downtown and rebuilding, helps," said Habermal.

Indiana State has employed 42 hundred jobs in the area, which not only impacts the employees, but the local, regional and statewide economy.

"The extra 3 million dollars that lands in pockets in this community is absolutely worth it," said Guell.

With ISU's campus just seven miles from the state line, officials say Indiana State's economic impact is not only limited to Indiana.

A study by Indianapolis-based Thomas P. Miller states ISU contributed 3.7 million in wages to employees, and retirees in Clark and Edgar counties in Illinois.

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