Warner Robins takes next step in redevelopment plan | News
Warner Robins' Redevelopment Agency says it's one step closer to bringing more business to the city with a special tax district.
Off Watson Boulevard, the once-booming Commercial Circle shopping center now looks a little more like a ghost town.
But Gary Lee, executive director of the Warner Robins Redevelopment Agency says a tax allocation district will change that.
"This is an opportunity for us to grow and stimulate the revitalization of our downtown area," says Lee.
In a special called meeting Tuesday, the agency agreed to sign a contract with the "Urbanish" company.
They manage tax allocation districts.
On January 1, the city formed a tax allocation district in agreement with the school board and the county. It starts on Armed Forces Boulevard, runs along Watson Boulevard and ends near Commercial Circle and spans a total of 170 acres.
Urbanish will try to bring developers to the district.
The money that comes in through the resulting increased property values will go right back to fund projects in the district.
Lee says they call the area the Government and Education corridor, since it includes City Hall and Middle Georgia State University.
Some of the development plans for the district are a new hotel and conference center, as well as housing.
Heidy Gutierrez's restaurant CC's Seafood has been in business for two years and is one of the few open storefronts in Commercial Circle.
But she thinks this new district might encourage more people to set up shop.
Tiffany Cox is just opening up her store, Go Girl Boutique, a few doors down.
She says she saw an opportunity being close to Robins Air Force Base, and would like the new customers that future development could bring.
"I'm for anything that could potentially help, not just my business, but any one of these businesses."
Ken McCall has owned his restaurant for almost thirty years. He's seen how the once busy area gradually faded.
"If there's a downtown area, this is the area," he says. "Unfortunately, Warner Robins, through the years, has just kind of become a sprawl."
By city leaders taking this step, he hopes to see Commercial Circle and the city, as a whole, thrive.
"It's reinvesting in the area for the properties themselves," he says.
The Urbanish company's services will be paid for by the Redevelopment Authority.