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Sean Reynolds

Rocky again requests downtown cash boost

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Rocky again requests downtown cash boost

By Heather May

The Salt Lake Tribune

    Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson couldn't squeeze grant money for Main Street out of the City Council during his re-election campaign last fall.

    And now, six months later, Anderson has doubled his request. He wants $100,000 from the Redevelopment Agency to lure businesses to Main Street and another $100,000 for existing downtown businesses -- something Frank Pignanelli suggested when he ran against Anderson for mayor.

    The council, acting as the RDA board, will vote on the request Thursday.

    Anderson's suggestion comes after the RDA board shot down another of his Main Street ideas: hanging flower baskets for $100,000. Council members complained that the colorful baskets wouldn't create jobs.

    If the council approves the latest request, RDA Director Dave Oka suggests the grants not be given to restaurants. "Let's take a more targeted approach. Let's make some goals for some more diversity."

    Last year, the RDA divided $100,000 among five businesses. Three were granted to new restaurants, which angered longtime downtown restaurateurs. When Anderson requested more money in September, the council balked because its members wanted to see if the first round of grants was successful.

    If grant money is awarded to existing businesses, Oka wants the money to be matched by the owner.

    In addition to offering grants, the RDA director and council members want to emphasize attracting new businesses and creating downtown housing to generate a base of shoppers and diners. Oka said he is working on a deal to bring 110 to 120 employees downtown. He declined to elaborate.

"We're trying to do everything," he said.

http://www.sltrib.com/2004/Mar/03092004/business/146001.asp

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$100,000 to hang flower baskets? How many were they going to hang? And who would've maintained them? I'm thinking that is a little overkill.

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Yeah, $100,000 isn't going to hurt anything, unless it's like Detroit, where the city faces a multimillion dollar budget shortfall. Of course Detroit's budget is more than $8 billion, so even a few million isn't that much.

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