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Petition drive to begin soon for downtown CID

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by Karen E. Culp

SBJ Staff

Springfield's downtown Community Improvement District will have a budget of about $211,000 to be used for maintenance, parking management and safety, and program administration and reserve in the center city area.

"We hope that this will provide a more sophisticated management of downtown. As downtown has grown and progressed, so have our needs. This is one way, we hope, to meet some of those needs," said Allen Casey, head of the CID steering committee.

Casey led one of two meetings on the proposed CID, which highlighted points from a plan prepared by Brad Segal, of Progressive Urban Management Associates, the consultant retained to develop a CID plan.

The proposal for the district provided for it to have three zones. Zone 1, comprising the immediate downtown area, would receive the greatest number of benefits from the CID money, and property owners in that zone will therefore pay the highest assessment, Segal said. Zone 2 borders Zone 1, and Zone 3 was to include John Q. Hammons' development in outer center city, as well as extending down Walnut Street.

The Walnut Street Merchants' Association decided it did not want to be included in the plan, and Hammons was to be excluded, also, said Lance T. Brown, executive director of Urban Districts Alliance. Casey said the absence of those two entities would leave only Zones 1 and 2 in the district.

The change from three to two zones reduced the district's income by about $6,000. Segal's plan, as presented April 14, reflected a budget of about $217,000.

The reduction in budget will not result in a reduction of services in the district, Brown said.

"Walnut Street had asked to be included at the outset, and as they researched it, they decided that this maybe was not something they wanted to do at this time," Brown said.

Jim Stout, who is the representative to the UDA Board of Directors for Walnut Street Merchants, said the street's mixed uses do not allow for much agreement on participating in a CID.

"Right now there is so much residential on Walnut Street that we don't feel we could get a majority of votes in favor of the CID," Stout said.

The $217,000 budget presented April 14 reflected Hammons' properties' absence from the plan, Brown said, though not the Walnut Street merchants'. The Hammons companies have always taken care of themselves, Brown said.

"Mr. Hammons has always done a good job of securing and maintaining his property, so this could be a duplication of some of those services," Brown said.

Zone 3 would have received image enhancement and communication services, according to the proposed plan. Zone 1 and Zone 2 will receive image enhancement, communication services and parking management, and Zone 1 will also receive maintenance services.

The proposed assessments will be based on a combination of linear lot frontage and assessed value. Zone 1, which pays the highest amount, will also receive the most services. Zone 1's assessment will be .747 per $100 of value plus $7.38 per linear front foot. Zone 2 property owners will pay the same assessment on assessed value plus $1.05 per linear front foot.

The assessments are still only proposals, and may be further evaluated, Casey said. Linear front footage is counted on the address side of the building.

In order for the CID to be approved, property owners representing 50 percent of value and 50 percent of the number of per capita owners must approve a petition. Once the district is approved and in place, Segal said, he recommends that the board of directors for the new district contract with UDA to manage the district. About 20 percent of the district's income will be dedicated to administration.

Segal's proposal calls for a number of items to be implemented downtown, such as parking ambassadors (an idea generated by Springfieldians, Segal said) to monitor customer parking lots[[In-content Ad]]

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