Monday, June 9, 2008 | In his argument for refocusing the mission of the Centre City Development Corp., Peter Q. Davis makes some interesting points recalling the history of downtown redevelopment. He also makes some admissions that suggest that CCDC’s usefulness has come to an end.

He recounts how in the 1970s downtown was suffering from loss of businesses, resulting in “blight and crime.” Now after three decades, according to Mr. Davis, “downtown redevelopment has been successful in accomplishing the goals laid out for it…CCDC has been successful in…removing blight.” Legally, redevelopment project areas, such as the area managed by CCDC, only exist to eradicate blight. If the job is done, it’s time to start repaying the debt and put this project area to rest.

Mr. Davis goes on to suggest that CCDC should be kept in place, because otherwise “80+%” of the property taxes collected downtown would go to the state. He puts the figure at $80 million dollars a year. This happens to be the exact amount by which the governor wants to cut funding to the city schools. Coincidence? I don’t think so. Furthermore, at least $8 million dollars a year from downtown property taxes should otherwise be going to the city’s general fund to help pay for necessary services.

In the end, it’s time to shut down the downtown redevelopment and any other project area that is not blighted. It is clear that redevelopment costs money and someone ends up paying the price. Personally, I would rather the money go to fixing potholes and educating kids than for flower pots downtown.

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