Bill Wayne's Political Pages - The Gadfly
Gadfly 149
Submitted to the Warrensburg Gazette for July 25, 2002

The Gadfly is a series of letters offering commentary on local issues and published in the Warrensburg Gazette.

It seems that Warrensburg Main Street, Inc., has put in abeyance its plan to tax Central Business District properties. That was probably a wise idea, considering the amount of opposition it has generated as well as the current condition of downtown. It was unlikely that they’d have met the statutory number of signatures on their petition. There’s nothing like a good controversy, such as the one about the “bump outs,” to derail a tax increase.

Speaking of the “bump outs,” I have recently visited a number of cities that have them. Ours are unique in one respect – they extend into the side streets. Neither Columbia, Jefferson City, Clinton nor North Kansas City have seen fit to narrow both streets at their downtown intersections; all have main streets that are much wider than Holden Street. Only Jefferson City has “bump outs” in mid-block. In every case the blocks are longer than ours.

Rather than raising taxes, Main Street needs to concentrate on getting back all the customers lost to downtown businesses during the construction. It’s been a long dry spell for businesses that depend on walk-in traffic, since the construction has made walking difficult and parking inconvenient. Some of those businesses may not survive. Remember, this beautification project has four more phases!

One thing that couldn’t hurt downtown Warrensburg is better signage from our highways. Another help would be useful promotions that got people downtown more often than one night every other week. I expect that downtown property owners will judge Main Street on their efforts to restore the lost business.

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