Economic Improvement District Proposed for Downtown Medford

, Posted: Wed, May 29 2013 at 6:30 PM, Updated: Wed, May 29 2013 at 6:36 PM

It comes at a cost: How much would Medford businesses pay to have their downtown spiffed up and marketed? As NBC 5's Jennifer Elliott depends on who you ask.

Skeptical. "We already pay so much for a tiny business like myself, you already pay quite a bit already," says Hem's owner Jzionna Gonzalez.

The Heart of Medford Association has proposed developing an "Economic Improvement District" in downtown Medford.
The goal: for 175 downtown business to pay an assessment fee to raise $278,000 for three years. The money going to maintain, beautify, and market downtown Medford.

"There are about 12 hundred of them in place...very successful," says Heart of Medford Association Executive Director Diane Raymond

It's the cost that concerns some small business owners, like Gonzalez of Hems. "I think we could find more profitable places to draw money from than from the simple little business owner."

The annual average assessed dollars from each business would range from $62 to $2500 based on gross square footage. The average would be $250 to $500 yearly.

"It could scare away business owners," comments Gonzalez

However, Porter partner Rolar Yondorf says he's all for it, "So much has been done by MURA ... it's our turn to pick up the ball. It's good value."
"Lets see what it looks like all written up..." comments Gonzalez.

There will be two public hearings schedule soon for businesses to voice their opinions and learn more. The proposal will proceed unless 33% of downtown businesses reject it either at the meetings or in letters to city council.

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