Today's Question: A new plan for downtown businesses

Friday, May 22, 2009 | 2:09 p.m. CDT; updated 7:56 p.m. CDT, Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Special Business District and Central Columbia Association voted to go ahead with a plan to convert both organizations into a community improvement district Wednesday.

Supporters say the community improvement district is a solution to less bureaucracy. Instead of two governing boards dealing with downtown issues, the community improvement district's one board will be able to get things done more efficiently.

In a previous Missourian report, Special Business District chairwoman Mary Wilkerson said that many downtown business owners don't feel like they have a voice, but that the creation of the community improvement district would solve that.

A half-percent sales tax increase on everything shoppers and diners buy downtown would help fund the new district.

Both committees spent months trying to determine whether to expand the Special Business District's borders, but at Wednesday's meeting the board left the borders untouched.

In a previous Missourian report, Wilkerson said it wasn't hard for businesses to be able to petition for new boundaries later.

For now, the Special Business District and the Central Columbia Association need to petition downtown business owners to garner support for the plan to show to the City Council.

Is a community improvement district a good idea for downtown? Why or why not?



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