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Friday, March 30, 2012


According to a report in The Atlantic Cities, the secret to supporting cash strapped cities (like Covington) is to capitalize on Downtown buildings. The article uses progress in Asheville, North Carolina as an example: 
In its vacant state in the 1970s, the Asheville Hotel didn’t contribute much to the public coffers. Today, though, that same parcel of land is responsible for exponentially more property tax revenue that helps pay for police, parks and city streets.
We tend to think that broke cities have two options: raise taxes, or cut services. Minicozzi, though, is trying to point to the basic but long-buried math of our tax system that cities should be exploiting instead: Per-acre, our downtowns have the potential to generate so much more public wealth than low-density subdivisions or massive malls by the highway. And for all that revenue they bring in, downtowns cost considerably less to maintain in public services and infrastructure.
“We really are kind of preachy, because we know it works,” says Minicozzi, who has performed similar tax studies in 15 cities across the country. “And the reason we know it works is because cities have been here forever. That’s all we’re saying: think urban. When I talk with people about urbanism, we as hairless apes have lived in these things called cities for thousands of years. Now over these last 40 years, we think we don’t need them any more?”
So, broke cities: Need money? If you’ve got underutilized buildings in your downtown, do anything you can to fix them up, because that’s where your wealth comes from. This is Minicozzi’s first lesson.
Photos and more detailed examples of how this idea has worked in other cities -- at the link.
The Atlantic Cities  
So, what do you think? Could this concept work in Covington?

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