Pharos-Tribune

January 8, 2013

City council grants $20k to downtown revitalization

Despite slight opposition, prospect of economic impact leads council to allocate funds to Logan’s landing

by Mitchell Kirk
Pharos-Tribune

LOGANSPORT — The Logansport City Council approved a measure last night to allocate $20,000 to Logan’s Landing Organization for the Downtown Revitalization Program.

There was one dissenting vote to the measure, cast by Councilman Bob Bishop. Bishop started out his response to the measure by reasoning that because the amount of the appropriation nearly matched the population of Logansport, it would be like asking each citizen to pay a dollar toward the project.

“If I went to each one of my constituents and asked them each to pay a dollar for this, I don’t think I’d get a very good response,” Bishop said, adding that he felt the result would be the same for the other council members’ wards.

Councilman Chuck LaDow countered by comparing this use of public funds in this way to financing public services, which Bishop said he didn’t agree with, as the taxpayers wouldn’t get as much out of it as they do from public services.

Other council members, like Jeremy Ashcraft, suggested that the proposed improvements to the local economy were enough to approve the measure.

“If we can find $4 million for a private company to build a multiplex, then we can find $20,000 for this,” Ashcraft said.

Since 2009, Logan’s Landing has doled out more than $80,000 to participating downtown businesses who have made nearly $290,000 in total building improvements associated with the facade projects. The organization has used leftover grant funding from the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority to keep the program going, but funds are running out.

Becki Harris, executive director of Logan’s Landing was present at the meeting as well. She agreed that the funds going toward the organization would help improve the town’s economy as well, as it would maintain existing businesses.

“It seems like there are always incentives for the new guy,” Harris said. “What about the old guy?”

Harris said that the organization is working to attract new businesses as well, something she expected would be helpful as the city looks toward the possibility economic partnerships with China.

“Downtown is the welcome mat of the community,” she said. “It may not be the most important part of a community, but it should be treated just as importantly.”

Mitchell Kirk is a reporter at the Pharos-Tribune. He can be reached at 574-732-5130 or mitchell.kirk@pharostribune.com.