City Admin discusses funding options for preserving Route 66

Photo courtesy of Lebanon-Laclede County Route 66 Society

Lebanon City Administrator Mike Schumacher, right, discusses funding options for preserving and promoting Route 66 in Lebanon. At left are Route 66 Society board members Leland Townsend and Bruce Owen.

By: 
Lebanon-Laclede County Route 66 Society

Lebanon City Administrator Mike Schumacher suggested Tuesday that the Lebanon-Laclede County Route 66 Society consider creating a Community Improvement District to raise money for the future promotion and preservation of The Mother Road.

“If we’re going to save ’66,’ we need to do something,” Schumacher told the Route 66 Society board at its monthly meeting.

He said Mayor Jared Carr agrees that Route 66 is a draw for Lebanon. “The mayor has a vision, you have a vision. We have to figure out a way to fund it.”

One option, Schumacher said, is to make the Route 66 corridor through Lebanon a “multiproject redevelopment” area similar to what Springfield city officials are proposing for the Kearney Street corridor.

Schumacher said another option for Lebanon is to create a Community Improvement District (CID) along the Route 66 corridor. The CID would have its own board of directors and, with approval of voters within the district, could establish a sales tax to be collected by businesses within its boundaries. The CID board then could spend the tax revenue on public improvements to benefit Route 66 and, in blighted areas, on contracting with property owners for the demolition, renovation or rehabilitation of buildings.

The boundaries of the CID would exclude a business that doesn’t want to be in it, Schumacher said.

Schumacher said the Route 66 Society, not the city, would be in charge of creating a Community Improvement District, although the city attorney would provide legal advice. The attorney’s fees would be repaid by the CID with the sales-tax revenue.

The Route 66 Society board took no action on the CID at Tuesday’s meeting, telling Schumacher that it wanted to get the opinion of a major Route 66 business owner first.

Schumacher said he also plans to meet with downtown businesses about forming a downtown Community Improvement District.

 

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The Laclede County Record

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