Begin small with downtown organization
With the coming of the new South County Justice Center, enthusiasm is building for a revitalization of downtown. Part of that revitalization has led to discussions on reestablishing some form of a downtown committee, maybe even a downtown merchants association or business improvement district.
We think getting merchants downtown organized and working together is a great idea. Back in the 1960s and 1970s when downtown was just about all there was in town, the merchants worked together to promote downtown and make it a destination place. A good example was the old Krazy Daz that use to be held when nearly every merchant and bank participated.
That has gone by the wayside in recent years.
There appears to be interest in forming a downtown association, but there also appears to be a strong hesitation by many business owners of bringing back a business improvement district where business owners would pay extra to support the district. That has been done before, most recently in 1987 with the Business Improvement Area. That was disbanded in 2006 when merchants lost interest.
We would suggest that any downtown organization begin small and build as more businesses and activity comes to the downtown area. Possibly a small or assessment to fund the committee, could be charged, but it has to be minimal.
What we don’t feel is needed right now is a large tax to make infrastructure improvements, such as a facade or streetscape program. The street looks good. Those are costly and not that effective in improving business for merchants.
We do feel the city needs to begin enforcing the city’s signage code downtown that would require permanent signage and eliminate many of the temporary banners now found on some businesses. The banners project the image that everything is temporary, not a sight a successful downtown wants to project.