Questions regarding proposed renovation
To the editor:
Questions for Scott Cahill and TAC:
What stores already downtown do you want staying in Salem?
If the "downtown...tax base should be 500 percent" more, what about those who own their business in their building - how do they recoup increased property tax, etc. costs?
Many of us with upper floors have access to them only through the lower level business -how/why would we give access to another resident? "Up to code" would mean two fire exits for an upstairs business; again, how, separate from the downstairs business?
What downtown building does Mr. Cahill own and when did he purchase it? Does it need renovation? What business is he putting in it -is there a specific one?
TAC envisions more than 40 new retail businesses downtown over the next three years. You'd like Toys R Us, Babies R Us, Dicks - do you know, for any of those companies, what their requirements are for an area before they'll open a store? Can you tell me of just one business like that who you've talked to and might come?
You'd like a glass blower, a candle maker, a pottery maker, a cigar maker, a fireplace shop, fine dining, a night club with dancing, a micro-brewery, a deli/sandwich shop and a confectionery. Do you have any of these businesses lined up, or are you hoping that if you build it they will come?
You want a $50 per Salem resident fee for the next two years to help renovate buildings - what if you build it and they don't come, or they come and don't make it? Will it be like the house behind city hall with the lovely chimneys?
You said you made the "educated assumption" there will be over 40 residences on the upper floors - who do you envision living in a second or third floor walk-up, a block or two away from a street with unexploded Molotov cocktails? Do they match the clientele of your (envisioned) businesses?
I want a healthy city and downtown as well. But maybe we should start with the city - why are we losing residents when Columbiana County as a whole is gaining? Why is our property tax higher than the surrounding area? Can we bring in just one new manufacturing plant? The downtown is a reflection of the city, not the other way around - you can't dress up buildings (especially not with city money) to fix the ills of a city.
My last question is like my first - who downtown now do you want out of your downtown? You've mentioned tattoo parlors. I would point out that when a little girl was killed by a hit-and-run driver, it was a businessman from a tattoo parlor who spear-headed an effort to help the family. He said something like what happens to one of us affects all of us. He was a blessing and I personally would like to have someone downtown, who already has a business there, who is a giver, not taker. He is Salem.