GREENVILLE — Greenville City Council held a special meeting Tuesday night to discuss their plan to create a number of downtown redevelopment districts.
The redevelopment zones, each a 10-acre space anchored by an historic building or district near downtown Greenville, would serve to raise property values and encourage investment in historic properties, according to Nate Green, a consultant with The Montrose Group who presented his organization’s findings to the council during the meeting. Over a pre-determined period of between one and 30 years, 70 percent of any increase in property taxes would go toward improvement and redevelopment of the targeted areas.
Revenue from the redevelopment districts can be used in one of four ways, according to Green: to make grants that would fund the refurbishment or restoration of historic buildings; make loans toward the refurbishment of non-historic buildings within the development district; to make infrastructure improvements, such as repairing sidewalks, street lighting, water, and sewer lines within the districts; and up to 20 percent of the funds can go toward funding economic development organizations such as Main Street Greenville.
The city wishes to create nine separate redevelopment zones in and around downtown Greenville, including one on East Main Street, stretching from Walnut Street to North Broadway; one on South Broadway between Third and Fifth Streets; one on West Fifth Street, anchored by the Greenville Public Library; and one encompassing all buildings in the square on South Broadway, including city hall. Cumulative property values in these areas have risen by $1.7 million over the last 10 years, according to Green; if they continue to do so after the formation of these redevelopment districts, substantial revenue could be generated.
Greenville Safety Director Curt Garrison stressed that the creation of these districts does not constitute placing an additional tax on the people and businesses operating in those areas.
“They would have paid more taxes anyway, as their property values increase,” Garrison said. “This just gives us something to do with 70 percent of those funds.”
The Greenville school board would have to be consulted if the city decides to move forward with the districts, Green said; and if they decide to create a district operating for more than ten years, they would require the school district’s approval.
The council seemed keen on moving forward with the plan. Next steps would involve a public hearing, which will likely be arranged once council has had a chance to reach out to members of the school district.
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