Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Protect city’s downtown

It has always been my interpretation that Light Industrial zoning is to set aside large enough pieces of land for distribution, manufacturing, etc. For example, we have three international businesses that employ many locals: Scott, Smith and Idaho Bio Science. When the economy does return, we will need to encourage more of these types of business again.

We have just spent over $4 million to revitalize the Fourth Street downtown core and Heritage Park. We have spent hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars to have Tom Hudson do studies for helping the better of the businesses and community survive. As I recall, Mr. Hudson's advice was to keep the community core intact and not allow spot zoning.

Every single business has had to make sacrifices to survive in the current economic challenge that we now face. Look at all of the empty business spaces, "for rent" and "for sale" signs.

Mayor Randy Hall and council members Larry Helzel and Curtis Kemp are sending a wrong message that the downtown businesses are expendable. Those downtown businesses and owners who have followed the comprehensive plan and paid their fair share of rent and property taxes are going to suffer much more or possibly go out of business altogether because of their decision.

Roxy's Market has invested hundreds of thousands to be a part of our downtown. Let's acknowledge that and give it a chance. History has dictated and I predict that the town cannot support three grocery stores. So what will happen to the people who have lost their jobs from the businesses that close? If the mayor's plan is to dismantle the downtown core, maybe he should rip up Fourth Street and move the bricks down Warm Springs Road leading to the light-industrial area.

Pat Higgins


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