U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Urban Planning
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 10-17-2015, 10:01 PM
 
30 posts, read 50,741 times
Reputation: 37

Advertisements

In 2013, we developed a revitalization program for our small town. Things are going well; by the middle of next year, we'll have new streets and sidewalks, a new park, and several buildings "upgraded" without losing their historical context.

Now that we will have a clean downtown area, it's time to start bringing people in.

The question is simple; how?

A lot of it depends on the business mix. We have recruiting programs in place to bring in new businesses. But, we're also looking at different things that could be done. This ranges from how to attract businesses to event design.

How have you made your small/medium town's downtown district more exciting?
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 10-18-2015, 06:48 AM
 
Location: Phoenix, AZ
1,070 posts, read 2,679,085 times
Reputation: 1439
I live part time in Flagstaff, AZ. It's a small-sized mountain town that has done an outstanding job revitalizing its downtown over the last 10 years or so.

We've got a bit of an unfair advantage, however. Northern Arizona University brings in about 20,000 students for most of the year, who all want to live in a dense, urban core -- and a good portion of downtown caters to that. There's several bars and clubs, as well as coffee shops, a theatre, and more. Flagstaff's other big industry is tourism. Closest city to the Grand Canyon, and along Route 66. Downtown caters to those, in the form of souvenir shops, boutiques, and local craft shops.

Another small town I know well is Brookhaven, MS. It doesn't have a big university, or any tourism. Instead, its thriving life is with the locals. Downtown Brookhaven is still in the works, but it's full of local shops and businesses, owned by the same families for generations. When it came to larger projects, like restoring the old Lincoln Theatre, it became a community effort. The main post office is downtown, as well as several banks -- services people use on a regular basis.

My hometown, Lexington, KY, did something interesting to accelerate infill and development. They raised property taxes on empty lots and abandoned buildings. Beforehand, there were several empty spaces and buildings that developers were simply holding onto. My guess is they were hoping someone else would build first, raising their values, so they could sell for profit. By heavily taxing "useless" spaces, it's encouraged these owners to develop their properties, bringing in infill.

So (and, I'm in no way an expert, just a casual observer), I'd say first look at the demographics of your community, and determine what they would need and use -- not what's necessarily going to be "exciting".
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-18-2015, 07:22 AM
 
Location: NC
8,119 posts, read 11,012,457 times
Reputation: 17404
Curious about how a town can raise taxes only on vacant property. Could you explain further, cab591?
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-18-2015, 10:29 PM
 
30 posts, read 50,741 times
Reputation: 37
Cab, We've looked in to the vacant/abandoned property tax and I've always thought it's a great idea. Getting it through City Council is a different matter though.

In 2013, Oklahoma City approved a vacant building law. Essentially, owners of vacant buildings must register with the city. The ordinance then requires owners of vacant properties to pay $285 per structure, with an annual renewal fee of $190. This offsets the loss of tax revenues that a "healthy" building would bring in. Of course, the building would have to sit vacant for X number of months before they were required to register, but the concept is pretty simple and has a big impact.

Problem is, that's a large-scale metro area. Trying to implement that in a small town would be a political nightmare, which is why I haven't been able to get it passed....yet. I've seen how much of an impact it has and it can certainly turn around a downtown area pretty quick.

It looks like that's what's happening in Lexington. I'd like to see how their ordinance is worded and see if it could be applied here.

So far, I like what I see about Brookhaven. It seems to be a town similar in size to ours, so there's a lot that can be learned there. It would be nice to see how they got the process started and what plans they've made through time to make it all happen.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-19-2015, 05:12 AM
 
2,916 posts, read 3,798,270 times
Reputation: 3226
This does seem like an illegitimate fee and unlawful tax. Nonetheless $285 plus annual "fees" of $190 is hardly an amount that would encourage someone to invest much, much more to "avoid" by building a structure they would have to pay even more money on.

According to the city article regarding implementation of a tax in Kentucky:
"But the city's law department has recommended that the maximum additional assessment for a vacant and abandoned property be $1 for every $100 of assessed value. For a home with an assessed value of $100,000, that's a $1,000 increase. The current tax on a $100,000 home is about $1,164. That same house with a special vacant-property assessment would have a bill of $2,164."

In other words, the city tax is not uniform. You pay one amount for the same appraised value and then get hit with an additional amount if the building is deemed blighted as compared to another building with the same market value that is deemed not blighted. Sounds like a law that is due for a challenge.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-19-2015, 06:16 AM
 
4,585 posts, read 4,613,307 times
Reputation: 6040
Quote:
Originally Posted by cab591 View Post
I live part time in Flagstaff, AZ. It's a small-sized mountain town that has done an outstanding job revitalizing its downtown over the last 10 years or so.
With an estimated population of over 60,000 people I wouldn't consider Flagstaff a 'small town' I would consider it a fair sized city!

Size is somewhat relative, a 10,000 person town/city would be considered small if there are nearby municipalities of 30,000 or 100,000 but medium or large if other towns in the area are 500 to 2,000 in population
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-19-2015, 06:47 AM
 
Location: Youngstown, Oh.
5,121 posts, read 8,483,294 times
Reputation: 4960
I'm not sure how I feel about the idea of using taxes or fees to encourage speculators to either do something with their property, or sell to someone who will. If they are keeping their property maintained, and are just waiting for the right tenant, then a tax seems punitive. But, if they are just sitting on it, and letting it rot away, then I'm all for it.

On the other hand, Youngstown has had a lot of luck with tax abatements. One particularly popular abatement is the historic tax credit. Hundreds of projects across the state have been made possible with this credit. But, there are many other fee reductions and tax abatements that a locality can offer.

My hometown of Massillon, Ohio had a lot of success with the Main Street program (Welcome to National Main Street Center, Inc. - Main Street) back in the 1990s.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-19-2015, 09:01 AM
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
90,377 posts, read 111,914,873 times
Reputation: 35920
My small town (20,000 people within the Boulder/Greeley CO MSA) started a "Street Faire" with a live band on Friday nights in the summer. The concerts are free; the band is paid for by the Downtown Business Association. I am not a member of that group, so I don't know how they fund it. The concerts bring loads of people to downtown to the restaurants, bars, etc. There are so many people that they city started providing a shuttle to downtown from a large shopping center parking lot. There are also booths set up near the concert venue (a bandshell on public property) that sell food. There are also numerous festivals downtown. Most of the businesses downtown are restaurants and boutique-y type places.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-20-2015, 09:27 AM
 
8,543 posts, read 15,863,293 times
Reputation: 4387
Downtown housing. Turn those vacant spaces upstairs from the vacant downtown stores back into apartments, and suddenly there's a customer base for the downtown stores that haven't closed yet.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-20-2015, 04:11 PM
 
3,867 posts, read 2,844,562 times
Reputation: 3299
I think taxing long-term vacant spaces is a great idea. Vacant lots are a blight that crowds out investment and lowers property values for the entire city, speculators shouldn't be allowed to sit in the middle of downtown and waste space.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Urban Planning

All times are GMT -6.

© 2005-2021, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Contact Us - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37 - Top