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Business Loop improvement project moves forward but crime still a concern

Members of the Business Loop Community Improvement District, or CID, board said at a meeting Thursday morning that sales tax revenues have exceeded their expectations.

“We are very pleased with what we’re bringing in in sales tax. And the reason for that is it’s much higher than our estimates. And that means we have a very strong retail corridor,” Carrie Gartner, executive director for the Business Loop CID told ABC 17 News.

ABC 17 News told you about the half-cent sales tax when it passed in 2015. According to a report, the sales tax revenue for 2017 has already exceeded $180,000. It was originally estimated to bring in about $200,000 for the entire year.

“I think it’s a really good sign that business on the Business Loop is vibrant and alive and doing better than many of us thought, frankly, it might,” Dave Griggs, chairman of the Business Loop CID and owner of Flooring America, which is located on the loop, said.

Still, crime remains a concern. In a 2016 Loop planning survey, about 25 percent said they would not visit the Business Loop because of safety concerns.

“Certainly, it [crime] has increased and there is a problem,” Griggs said, adding that, for the most part, it hasn’t had any affect on his business. “Other than our personal and my employees concerns we have really not had any problems.”

Griggs believes the improvements in the area will have a direct effect on deterring crime.

“The more people we can attract to the Business Loop, the more shoppers we can attract to the Business Loop, the more reinvention of structures on the Business Loop–better exterior lighting, etc.–all of those things will inherently help reduce the crime problem.”

The project is aiming to plan for the next 10 to 15 years.

“This is a great place, if we can get it together, for the start of businesses, for entrepreneurs to really build their dream on the Business Loop,” Griggs said.

Here’s a link to The Loop website, if you want to stay updated on the project. ABC 17 News will have a full report in our 9 p.m. newscast.

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