The idea of an Englewood Community Improvement District has been kicked around for about a decade, Council Member John Perkins said Monday, as a way to beautify the western Independence retail area.
The City Council has taken a big step toward that, on Monday approving a petition to establish the Englewood CID, which would encompass the Englewood Arts District along Winner Road. A majority of CID business owners would still have to approve the 1 percent sales tax within the district.
“We strive to be self-sustainable, safe, clean, fun and memorable,” said Tammy Parsons, owner of B-Vogue Salon in Englewood.
Officials project the CID would generate about $34,000 annually after taking out a couple thousand dollars for administrative fees. Still, Parsons said, such money can go a long way toward work on streetscape amenities, replacing or refurbishing signs, landscaping, public artwork and maintenance. She said she plans to seek matching grants for further stretch those revenues.
“A major ingredient for success is partnerships,” Parsons said. “We are where the arts live in Independence. (The CID) would help visions become realities.”
Parsons and others are also part of a nonprofit, Englewood Arts Missouri, that is negotiating with the city to buy the long-vacant Comprehensive Mental Health Services building at Winner Road and Appleton Avenue. The city bought the building about 18 months ago for $169,000.
As it stands now, the city would sell the building to the nonprofit for that same amount. The holdup is putting together a plan for the building's future.
“That building had been an eyesore for years with no movement,” Perkins said. “I think (selling it for the price of purchase) shows a good-faith effort. We would be receiving what we put into it.”
Council Member Karen DeLuccie requested a resolution Monday that the city put the building on the market, hoping to speed up the process to get the dilapidated structure off the city's hands. It failed by a 4-3 vote, drawing support only from Scott Roberson and Mayor Eileen Weir. Curt Dougherty, Mike Huff and Tom Van Camp voted with Perkins.
“I do not want (putting it on market) to be a backup plan,” DeLuccie said. “I want it on the market for sale for the highest obtainable dollar figure.”
The city had bought the building to give itself more control that a future owner would keep in tune with the neighborhood. DeLuccie said the city has held on to a dangerous building long enough and should make sure it doesn't take a loss.
“Put the silly thing on the market,” she insisted. “Putting it on the market is not going to squander any opportunity.”
“What I would hate to see is a developer come forward without a plan, and then we're right back where we started,” Mayor Eileen Weir said.
City Manager Zach Walker affirmed that the council would have final approval with any plans involved with the building.