Improvement District Strikes Fear in Small Businesses

Tacoma, Washington has created a local improvement district in the Broadway-St. Helens neighborhood to create an 'urban village' and improve old infrastructure, but existing small businesses are afraid of being priced out.

"When construction is finished on the Broadway-St. Helens 'urban village' in Tacoma in 2010, the area will have wider, tree-lined sidewalks with chic lighting and 'sidewalk furniture.'

Then there are the improvements you won't see: the new, bigger underground power, water and sewer lines that should accommodate plenty of development.

What you also might not see: some of the existing businesses, which fear they'll be priced out by the cost of the improvements or the resulting property tax increases.

'My cost is somewhere close to a quarter-million and for it I get nothing,' said Alan Gorsuch, owner of Sanford & Son Antiques in the Broadway LID. 'The LID is for planting, street lighting and underground power we've already got.'"

"Gorsuch said he's 'not paying a nickel' of the LID cost and plans to take the city to court over the LID formation process, which he characterized as illegal."

Full Story: ‘Urban village,’ urban warfare

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