WVIR reported this evening that Charlottesville is in the early stages of determining how to fund a proposed expansion of the Downtown Mall. The plan is to expand the Mall all the way to the amphitheatre and extending it down some side streets, much like 3rd Street SE, the expansion that was unwillingly funded by, among others, Michael and Jill Williams of Williams Corner Bookstore. (Now Virginia National Bank.) Though funding for the project is still very much in the exploratory phase, City Councilors Maurice Cox and Blake Caravati both expressed an interest in a business tax being levied on area property owners.
3 thoughts on “Mall Expansion Tax Proposed”
Now, 3rd Street SE is the nicest sidestreet on the mall, but it’s the Fridays After Five crowd, the tourists, and the general passerby’s who see the real benefits of that development, not Mike Williams or Virginia National Bank. The mall is a park, an entertainment district, a multi-use thingamabob, whatever you want to call it. Every block on the mall should look so nice, but I don’t see how residents should be expected to pay the cost for improvements that benefit everyone. Likewise, improving that end of the mall should be a civic service on the part of the city, not a further burden on mall residents.
Wait a minute, first they want a road across the mall, now they want a mall across the road?
I hate to be the one to point it out, but until the City prints its own money, funding for the much-needed Downtown Mall upgrades have to come from somewhere. Simply taxing the mall “residents” would be a horrible idea, however. Maybe they could increase parking fines (!) or shop for a better deal on Xmas trees. Of course, before anybody spends anything on any improvements in the so-called “historic” downtown area, the BAR needs to be consulted. They may not like the idea, or they may dictate the brick pavers be changed to a more “historic” color. Hopefully, they won’t like it, and the City will finally do away with that albatross, or at the very least provide it with some reasonable, sensible direction and leadership.
But I digress. Expanding the Mall is a great idea, and it will enhance the overal ambience and quality of life downtown. I live in the County, but I go downtown at least once each week, I love the Downtown Mall, and I’d be happy to pay my fair share. Perhaps some sort of use tax in the form of a sales tax increase would be appropriate. You can rail about taxes all you want, but these things don’t build or pay for themselves, you know.
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