Plans for Downtown include more stringent property codes, adding enforcement authority to the City, creating a downtown district and committee overseeing its development, creating a grant program for façade restoration, a proposed City Hall renovation, and general updates to the streetscape.
Obstacle 1: Many of the downtown buildings are vacant and/or blighted.
Obstacle 2: There is a lack of space for the community to congregate.
Action Item 1:
Complete and Pass an ordinance devoted to the elimination of Blighted and Deteriorated properties that have stood vacant.
Purpose: To improve the appearance of the downtown area
To encourage responsible use of structures,
To encourage businesses to relocate to the downtown district.
Comprehensive Plans Goals achieved: 1.4, 1.7, 15.4, 15.8, 16.5, 17.2, 18.8, 20.4
Process: KRS 99.705-99.730 provides the steps necessary to condemn a property and institute eminent domain. This, with a heightened blighted structures ordinance paired with a higher tax bracket will encourage property owners to bring their structures up to code. This ordinance was once passed by the City but has since been repealed.
Step 1: Fine Blighted structures in accordance with the Planning and Zoning Ordinance.
Step 2: Increase taxation through the Property Tax Ordinance of 2015
Step 3: Condemn structures through a new ordinance created using KRS 99.705-99.730
Estimated Time: January 2016
A completed ordinance will be presented to the City Council and Planning and Zoning Commission during their January regular meeting.
Action Item 2:
Create a grant program to be utilized by Downtown Businesses to upgrade their facades.
Purpose: To improve the appearance of the downtown area.
To encourage businesses to relocate to the downtown district.
Comprehensive Plan Goals achieved: 1.4, 1.6, 1.8, 7.1, 15.4, 15.5, 15.7, 15.8, 16.1, 16.4c, 16.5, 17.2, 18.8, 20.4
Process: Create an application process in which businesses inside the Downtown District boundaries may apply for grant funding from the City. Grant expenditures may be funded by the additional tax revenue generated by the increased taxation of 2015 (approximately $13,000). A 50/50 grant will be available at a maximum of $2, 500 awarded.
Property owners once awarded will be reimbursed for approved expenditures in line with the goals of the Renaissance Plan. Property Owners awarded must have a tenant in their property at the time of application or must have a tenant within 18 months after the award, the property must have a tenant for 12 months within 30 months of the award. If the property owner is unsuccessful in gaining a tenant based on the requirements half of the grant awarded must be returned (up to $1,250).
Step 1: Creation of an application for Grant award.
Step 2: Allot time period for property owners to apply.
Step 3: Reimburse Property owners based on appropriate expenditures.
Step 4: Ensure all Property Owners meet the tenant requirements set forth.
Estimated Time: Dependent upon approved funding
Creation of an application will be completed by March 2016.
Action Item 3:
Create a Downtown District including boundary lines.
Process: Conduct a visual survey using maps supplied by the Property Valuators Administration to determine the true boundaries of the Downtown District.
Purpose: To allow the City to determine if a property lies within the downtown development district.
Comprehensive Plan Goals achieved: 1.4
Estimated Time: March 2016
Action Item 4:
Apply for Main Street status through the Kentucky Main Street Program.
Purpose: To improve the downtown district.
To have the ability to apply for additional grants and funding.
Comprehensive Plan Goals achieved: 1.4, 1.8, 7.1, 14.4, 15.4, 15.7, 15.8, 15.9, 16.1, 16.2, 16.4c, 16.5, 17.2, 18.8, 20.4
Process: Form a committee to evaluate the needs and obstacles involved in achieving Main Street status. This group will be involved in grant research and other avenues to determine the best direction for the downtown district. The Committee will research opportunities for green spaces and gathering areas for the community as well as tourism opportunities in the downtown district.
Estimated Time: April 2016
Action Item 5:
Add items to downtown to allow people to congregate including chairs, benches, and tables.
Purpose: To encourage residents to congregate in the downtown district
Comprehensive Plan Goals Achieved: 1.4, 15.9
Process: Work with area companies/industry to accept sponsors for seating and other installations in the downtown district.
Step 1: Determine locations needed for furniture pieces.
Step 2: Research costs and design of furniture needed.
Step 3: Offer the opportunity to sponsor furniture by businesses, industry and individuals. Apply a name plate on furniture pieces notating the sponsoring business, industry or individual.
Estimated Time: Sponsors will be sought out during the year of 2016.
Action Item 6:
Renovate City Hall to allow City Council meetings to return to their intended location.
Purpose: The City, by example, will show area businesses that it is willing to invest in the downtown area. Currently over one half of the City Hall Building is unused/unusable space. In addition, the building is not handicap accessible to its second floor or to any restroom facility.
Comprehensive Plan Goals: 1.4, 7.1, 15.4, 16.1, 20.4
Process: Apply for Grant assistance through the USDA Rural Development Fund.
Estimated Time: In Progress
Back Up: In the event that the USDA Grant is unsuccessful or does not provide enough funding the City may apply for CDBG funds to purchase an elevator.
Contacts: Gene Becker, BRADD, Bowling Green and Joseph USDA, Madisonville
Action Item 7:
Add Banners/Signage to the downtown district
Purpose: To improve the look and feel of the Downtown District.
To create a consistent brand image for the City
To draw the community to the downtown district.
Comprehensive Plan Goals Achieved: 1.4, 3.10, 4.3, 15.5, 15.9, 16.1, 16.2, 16.3, 20.4
Process: Apply for funding through the Tourism Commission for Street Signage in February 2016. Utilize the City Logo in the design of banners and signage to incorporate a central theme.
Estimated Time: January/February 2016