Editorial: The impact of a 'big sister'

Familiarity often leads to someone, or something, being taken for granted. In St. Joseph County’s case, it is easy to sometimes forget the impact the University of Notre Dame has on the community. That is, until we are reminded.

A recent study of the economic impact of the university shows just how significant a role Notre Dame plays in the local economy. According to the study, Notre Dame accounted for $873 million in economic activity and more than 12,000 jobs in St. Joseph County last year. With 5,039 full- and part-time employees (excluding students), Notre Dame is the largest employer in the county.

To be sure, not everyone who lives in the county or in South Bend, likes Notre Dame. While many have a strong affection for the university there are those who are indifferent. And there even seems to be an undercurrent of resentment by some.

Whatever a person’s opinion about Notre Dame, there is one fact that is undeniable: There is no institution in St. Joseph County that has as much impact on the economy.

Besides its own payroll, Notre Dame accounts for 7,341 jobs in the county through its spending on goods, services, construction and other economic activities. That is some ripple effect.

Those ripples are expected to widen even further with the Innovation Park at Notre Dame, the tech park that is scheduled for the start of construction this spring near South Bend Avenue and Edison Road. The Eddy Street Commons project further proves the strong link between ND and the city.

So, consider Notre Dame the big sister of South Bend. It can be a complicated relationship, but in the end we wouldn’t trade her for anything.

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