Board Adopts Sixth Avenue Corridor Study, Approves Small News Improvement Grant | News

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Acting in their role as the trustees of the Stillwater Economic Development Authority, the Councilors approved a Small News Enhancement Agreement with Merrifield Office Supply. The grant, which will be paid from proceeds of the Tax Increment Financing district that includes downtown, will provide $15,000 toward upgrades to the store’s facade. In other business, the Council approved on second reading an ordinance reclassifying property located at 1223 S. Husband St. from Commercial General to Small Lot Residential zoning. Merrifield’s has been an anchor store in the 600 block of South Main Street for many year and it’s time for a refresh, Deputy City Manager Melissa Reames said.

He praised the process for developing the plan and said it was a great example of a good public process to ensure the community is adopting sound development ideas. Stillwater Medical Center Chief Financial Officer Alan Lovelace – acting in his role as Chairman of the advocacy group Vibrant Stillwater – urged the council to adopt the study.

The ultimate goal is to create a community that attracts and retains talent and builds economic opportunity, he said. Councilor Amy Dzialowski said adopting the study was a good way to mark the City’s intention about implementing the plan and building public spaces.

This is exactly what the News Enhancement grants are intended to do, unlike other incentives associated with the TIF that are meant to redevelop dilapidated properties or encourage the establishment of new businesses. “They (the grants) are generally exterior in nature and while they don’t add sales tax to the TIF pot or encourage new business, they do improve the downtown and that lifts the tax base for everybody,” Reames said. “I think it also encourages their neighbors to do and to reinvest. That was one of the objectives here.” Improvements planned for the office supply store include painting, new awnings, new signage and new storefront glass.

The money allocated for 2021 was not spent and is still available, she explained. The TIF Implementation Planning Committee has set aside $150,000 – allocated as $50,000 each year over three years – for the grants to help existing businesses.

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