The “plan” floated by County Board Chairman Scott Christiansen to tax downtown businesses and put that money back into the businesses is not a downtown revitalization plan, it is a public works program at best. It is also an unveiled attempt to increase property values to increase county revenue. What is missing from the plan is the answer to “why should I move downtown?” The assumption many are making is that if you improve the look and feel of the buildings, business will come downtown. Fixing up some buildings alone will not bring business back. With all the business opportunities on Riverside and East State, we need to create a reason for businesses to relocate downtown. Putting the SSA in place without a compelling reason for business to come back will doom the plan. What we need is a pool of truly innovative development ideas to draw from. Send your ideas to this paper. I’ll send in a particularly unique plan next week. Perhaps the publisher could post the overflow of ideas on his website. You just might hold the answer yourself. Send it in.
From the Aug. 11-17, 2010 issue