La Vista voters will decide the fate of a half-cent bump in the sales tax to help fund a sweeping redevelopment project. The City Council advanced the proposal to the May 13th ballot on Tuesday night on a 7-0 vote.
The extra money raised would be used for an ambitious proposal to resurrect the blighted 84th Street corridor, a project known as Vision 84.
It’s tough to find a community that’s willing to pay higher taxes but La Vista might be the exception. Many of the taxpayers themselves have told the city they have a stomach for more taxes if they know where the money is going.
Mayor Doug Kindig said the goal is "bringing 84th Street back to where it needs to be." What's wrong with it now? "It's dead."
It doesn't take long to see the despair. Three or four anchor stores have left the corridor recently. There are buildings available and signs asking for new owners or renters to come forward.
Some businesses are holding on and the mayor says he has the utmost respect for them but he acknowledges that if the city is going to help bring back 84th Street, it needs to be at the table with developers. And the estimated $1.1 million that would come in from the sales tax every year would do just that.
“Eighty-fourth Street, it is a big undertaking, but a lot of people thought we were dreaming when we did Southport and we were able to make that a reality," said Mayor Kindig. "We're not biting off more than we can chew."
A decade ago La Vista had 11,000 residents. That’s now up to 17,000.