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New property, sales tax in store for Columbia’s Business Loop 70

Dave Griggs watched the town grow around, then away from Business Loop 70 in Columbia. Previously Highway 40, businesses began building along the road in order to capitalize on the traffic from the coast-to-coast highway.

But when Interstate 70 came, traffic began going north of the strip. Since then, development burgeoned farther south, and Business Loop 70 became, in a way, neglected.

Griggs, who owns Dave Griggs Flooring America at its current location since 1996, is a part of the new Business Loop Community Improvement District. The group held its first meeting Wednesday afternoon at Boone Electric Cooperative. The CID will soon move its regular meetings to the Parkade Center.

“What do we need to make the Business Loop a shopping destination that people want to come to,” Griggs told ABC 17 News about the early mission of the CID. “How do we recruit the businesses that people want to shop at? We just want to do a holistic review of what’s here, what are the assets, and what is the best use of the property, and really work to have a long range plan?”

A community improvement district can levy special taxes on properties and businesses within its boundaries. For this one, the board of seven members agreed to a special property tax of 47-cents per 100 dollars of assessed value. Griggs said they anticipate to collect $50,000 the first year, but hopefully see more from it as property value increases from changes to the area.

The board also plans to levy a half-cent sales tax on retail sales within the district. That would require a vote of the business owners within the improvement district, and the board anticipates bringing in around $250,000 through it.

Griggs said the board can use the money to help hire people to work with the city on designs for infrastructure, like burying power lines underground, or public safety, like sidewalks or special city police units.

Development on the Business Loop took off in the 1930s and 1940s, surrounding what was then Highway 40. As the city’s development codes changed to reflect natural preservation in green spaces south of town, the changes made it hard for new development on the Business Loop. Griggs said owners weigh a high cost of redeveloping their property to fit new city standards on the already paved landscape of the Business Loop. Through the CID, a recognized political subdivision, the group could ease development standards of the area towards the current rules.

Residents living near the Business Loop hoped the board would listen to their concerns before making any decisions.

“I think it’s really important to be included, and that neighborhoods and people who are paying attention to the residential neighborhood will be included in any kind of project,” Pat Kelley, a member of the Ridgeway Neighborhood Association said at Monday’s city council meeting said before the council approved the formation of the CID.

The group will hold its next meeting on May 18.

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