Lodinews.com

default avatar
Welcome to the site! Login or Signup below.
|
||
Logout|My Dashboard

Property owners discuss idea of Downtown Lodi improvement district

Print
Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Friday, February 10, 2012 12:00 am | Updated: 6:08 am, Fri Feb 10, 2012.

Property owners gathered Thursday night to discuss what projects they would like to see paid for by a proposed property improvement district and also share some of their concerns.

About 20 of the approximately 70 Downtown property owners listed their goals for the new business district that included everything from tree lighting, to alleyway cleanup, to directional signage to get people to Downtown.

The owners are considering forming a Property and Business Improvement District, or a PBID. The district would consist of a group of property owners who vote to assess themselves an annual fee and then use the money to make improvements in Downtown.

The property owners voted maintenance and beautification as their top concerns.

The city and property owners teamed up to revitalize Downtown more than a decade ago. Property owners are now saying there needs to be some maintenance to keep it looking nice, like fresh coats of paints and powerwashing for the sidewalks.

“We’ve deferred this maintenance long enough. We need to start making it look more clean and inviting to our customers,” Downtown property owner Dave Kirsten said.

The meeting started with at least one couple who own property in Downtown stating they were not in favor of creating the district.

Ronald and Connie Riggs said they were frustrated that they were not informed of the original meeting to discuss the district, and believe that the district will be formed regardless of whether property owners want it or not.

Kirsten, who hosted the meeting at his office in Downtown, asked the Riggs to wait until after they heard all of the information to voice their concerns. When they continued to voice their disapproval, Kirsten asked them to leave.

“You are railroading this through. You are asking us to leave because we are trying to object to it,” Ronald Riggs said.

The Riggs ended up staying for half the meeting. Ronald Riggs said he is frustrated that the money business and property owners have paid for various revitalization efforts in the past has always been focused on School Street, leaving other parts of Downtown, specifically Sacramento Street, in disrepair.

“All of these things have ignored the problems on Sacramento Street. Until you fix Sacramento Street, nothing is going to change,” he said.

Downtown Lodi Business Partnership Executive Director Jaime Watts and Civitas project manager Verna Sulpizio answered questions from the property owners about how to form a district. They estimated it would cost $100,000 to hire Civitas, establish the district and pay for the first year’s expenses.

Sulpizio said it was impossible for the district to be “railroaded through” because 50 percent of the property owners in the district have to vote in favor for it to be established.

Dan Ingrum, owner of Danz Jewelers, said the best part of the district is that it is in their control.

“The property owners truly run this. They put the money in and they decide how the money is going to be spent,” Ingrum said.

Farmers & Merchants Bank Senior Vice President Jay Colombini said the incentive to property owners is they would be able to charge more for rent when they renew their leases with tenants in a few years if Downtown Lodi is an area where customers want to come because it is beautiful and well-maintained.

“You can look at other areas, like Stockton. Maybe if some areas had done improvements ahead of time, they would be able to charge higher rents,” he said.

Colombini said he is not sure if the bank supports a PBID yet. He feels that there has been “incorrect money management” by the city that has resulted in the city’s responsibilities in Downtown being unfunded.

“Does that mean we are against this? I don’t know. It just leaves a bad taste in our mouth,” Colombini said.

He specifically said the city has not reigned in the high costs of retirement benefits for city employees.

“Is the city there for employees or are they there for the citizens?” he said.

Kirsten said that the Downtown is looking less attractive every day and that everyone has ignored the maintenance long enough. He said it is important to find a way to fund improvements, so that when the economy does turn around shoppers and businesses will flock to Downtown.

“You take a risk, you take a chance. I want to maintain the asset and I want to do whatever we can within reasonable boundaries,” he said.

Gregory and Carol Soligan, who own multiple properties in Downtown, said they need more information before making a decision.

“If it’s just for the beautification, cleanup and security in Downtown, then that’s doable. ... We’ve got to know what the parameters are before we can say if we want to move forward,” he said.

As she was leaving the meeting, Connie Riggs said she has two tenants that owe her tens of thousands of dollars, and she cannot afford any type of assessment.

Riggs said he feels like not all of the property owners will have an equal voice when it comes time to form a PBID.

“It depends on who you are, how many votes you get and if you go along with us and the plan, you’ll get more votes,” he said.

Contact reporter Maggie Creamer at maggiec@lodinews.com. Read her blog at www.lodinews.com/blogs/citybuzz.

More about

More about

Rules of Conduct

  • 1 Use your real name. You must register with your full first and last name before you can comment. (And don't pretend you're someone else.)
  • 2 Keep it clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually oriented language.
  • 3 Don't threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
  • 4 Be truthful. Don't lie about anyone or anything. Don't post unsubstantiated allegations, rumors or gossip that could harm the reputation of a person, company or organization.
  • 5 Be nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
  • 6 Stay on topic. Make sure your comments are about the story. Don't insult each other.
  • 7 Tell us if the discussion is getting out of hand. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
  • 8 Share what you know, and ask about what you don't.

Welcome to the discussion.

1 comment:

  • Bob Johnson posted at 10:09 am on Fri, Feb 10, 2012.

    Bob Johnson Posts: 26

    Mr. Colombini feels that "incorrect money management" by the city has resulted in a lack of funding for the downtown area and futher points out that the city has not "reigned" in the high cost of retirement benefits for city employees.

    On that point, I agree with Mr. Colombini. I feel that the city can be more aggressive in addressing this sensitive and expensive issue and I made that point known at the last Council meeting.

    But that is where Mr. Colombini and I part company. We all would like to see a "spiffier" downtown but finding the funding is the issue. Despite the weak economy, Lodi is in pretty good shape as compared to many other cities in the Valley but we still have to priortize how we spend our available cash. I'm certain that, in the banking business, Mr. Colombini is faced with similar choices.

    If we had the money, would we be better off expanding our gang supression efforts?
    What about beefing up our programs for seniors and the youth of the community? Should we spend more on street resurfacing? The list is endless and the decisions are difficult but I suggest that the problem has not been created by "incorrect money management" as suggested by Mr. Colombini.


     

Video

Popular Stories

Poll

Should graduations return to the Grape Bowl?

Lodi Unified leaders are moving Lodi and Tokay high school graduations from the Grape Bowl to the Spanos Center at UOP in Stockton. They cite limited seating, costs and unpredictable weather at the Grape Bowl. But others say graduations at the Grape Bowl are an important Lodi tradition, and one reason many supported renovating the stadium. What do you think?

Total Votes: 85

Loading…

Mailing List

Subscribe to a mailing list to have daily news sent directly to your inbox.

  • Breaking News

    Would you like to receive breaking news alerts? Sign up now!

  • News Updates

    Would you like to receive our daily news headlines? Sign up now!

  • Sports Updates

    Would you like to receive our daily sports headlines? Sign up now!

Manage Your Lists