Developments show improving economy

Saturday, January 10, 2015

The Sikeston City Council took the final step in approving a new Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district this week which will pave the way for a new Malco multiplex movie theater as well as other highly anticipated development.

The TIF district will provide some financing assistance for the multimillion dollar project that will bring a community improvement named as the top missing ingredient here by many people.

In fact, a survey by SEMO University not too long ago targeted the lack of an expanded and improved movie theater as the top priority for our community.

The TIF district - like the ones that brought Lowe's and Walgreen Drugs to our community - is a useful tool to show confidence to developers who are investing major dollars in our community.

The private money put up by developers of the property will top $4.5 million and will open for additional development the southwest part of our city limits.

At the 11th hour, a small band of citizens and one city councilman voiced concerns and reservations on the project. Like earlier opposition to the Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority, these citizens have concerns about government overreach and some shadowy plot to snatch private property for rich developers at the expense of the "little man."

Their concerns were addressed by a wide range of individuals with experience in TIFs but it's highly doubtful their issues were resolved.

Nonetheless, the project is advancing and the development will soon become a reality.

But there's other good news.

A new South Main development group will very soon begin improvements along a stretch of that major thoroughfare that will improve and change the face of that segment of our community.

If you haven't traveled south of town and seen the massive Three Rivers East Campus coming to life, take a few minutes and detour from your daily routine. You'll be impressed.

And if you read the front page this week you'll notice that it appears sales tax revenue - long a source of major funding here and equally long a stagnant amount - appears headed this year for a major boost.

That shows confidence here and a slowly improving local economy. All good signs.

I am convinced that 2015 will be a banner year for our community as some of the long-awaited projects become reality.

And we'll use these improvements to promote our community which will likely pave the way for a brighter tomorrow.

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