Owners, leaders want Winston-Salem ‘business improvement district’

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Downtown business owners and leaders want the city to create a new “business improvement district” that would provide extra cleaning services, security patrols, marketing and money to help recruit more businesses into downtown.

“Not so many years ago we dreamed of a flourishing downtown,” said Ralph Womble and downtown resident. “Now we are finally getting there and the growth is taking its toll.”

Womble was just one of several who told city council members Monday night they are willing to be taxed to pay for the extra services.

The property owners in the district would be taxed 9 cents for every $100.00 of taxable property creating more than $400,000.00.

“Our downtown property owners have said they’re willing to pay for that,” said Gail Anderson with the Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce. “This is the place were people all over our community come.”

But, not everyone is onboard. “It is the appropriate role of city government to do this or at least the responsibility of business to cover their own cost of doing business,” said downtown property owner John Andronica. He believes it’s a tax for the business owners who want it, not for downtown residents.

“I believe that such funding is not a duty of downtown residents.”

The newly proposed district would include areas bordered by MLK Junior Drive, Broad Street, Church Street, Spruce Street and Business I-40.

City Council will decided on the tax at it’s November 25 meeting.

If approved, a board of business owners in the district would oversee the tax money and services.