“We think there’s a really good opportunity now for the redevelopment of this area, and what we’re working to do in the city is to create the right kind of environment and incentives for development,” Wendt said. . “One of the proactive steps we’re taking is working with companies to, in some cases, expand permitted uses.”
Permitted uses for businesses in the Downtown Overlay District include medical/dental clinics; micro-breweries, distilleries or wineries; restaurants with table service; cafes or cafes; boutique hotels or bed and breakfasts and mixed-use buildings.
Prohibited business development uses would include loan and cash advance establishments, laundromats, pawnshops, auto repair establishments and tattoo parlours.
Wendt said some businesses already established in the overlay district fall under the category of prohibited uses. He said the goal is not to eliminate or restrict them.
“We want these (business owners) to succeed and continue in business,” he said. “As we try to bring in these mixed-use buildings that combine residential and business spaces, you bring people to work, so we want to have the right kind of attractions that also support them in the traditional downtown way. (by) giving them a place to go for lunch, grab groceries, and the ability to embrace and use local professional services.
Wendt said the city has also expanded its community reinvestment area as part of the downtown redevelopment plan.
“It allows us to provide tax incentives to businesses that refit,” he said. “We’ve heard from developers and builders that this is essential for this type of development in our market.”
The full downtown redevelopment process is long-term, Wendt said. The next step is to hire a business to conduct a feasibility study to determine what type of business is likely to be successful based on demographics and location.
City officials say residents can expect to see noticeable redevelopment results over the next five years.
“It’s really something we’ve heard from our residents (for years); this desire for a good downtown,” said city spokesman Rich Hopkins. “It won’t happen overnight, but we are now taking the necessary steps to make it happen. I think it will be a big win for the city.