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Improvement district considered
A Specific Improvement District is being considered for the Orland downtown area.
The target area is one square block along Fourth and Fifth streets from Walker to Colusa streets.
Interim City Manager Gail Wingard and Economic Development commissioners sought the City Council's thoughts last week on creating the district.
Wingard wants the city to provide mini grants of $500 to $1,000 to help business and property owners paint and improve their buildings in the target areas.
The businesses or building owner would pay the rest and supply the labor, he said.
Wingard believes this would not only improve the streets' looks, but attract more customers downtown.
Council members expressed concern about limiting the program to one district instead of spreading it out throughout the city.
EDC Commissioner Gary Campbell said the project could start small and move from there.
However, Campbell added, "We can't wait. Grants are fine, but they require red tape and red tape takes time. We need help now."
Finance Director Daryl Brock also wanted to know which accounts he could use to provide the money.
"My biggest dilemma is nothing is quantified," Brock said. "I don't know what I'm looking for. We could look at individual requests and see if it can be done."
He added sales tax revenues are up in the city, so he might come up with some funding from that.
Councilman Jim Paschall said the city could put money out, but when it runs out, people will complain it is not there.
"Can we invent a special district?" Brock asked.
Interim planner Scott Friend said it can be done.
Glenn County Supervisor Dwight Foltz, who represents Orland, suggested grant money might be available for the project.
He said the city should contact the county's Human Resource Agency for more information.
City Attorney Greg Einhorn said the city has a program that allows for specific improvements and grant money could be used for such a project.
"Yes, private business owners receive benefits, but that happens with a lot of government programs," Einhorn said. The key is the city would also benefit.
Councilman Bruce Roundy said he was in favor of the idea but the council needs more answers.
Orland resident Jaimie Lely suggested the city look at other towns with successful old-fashioned business districts like Yountville to see how they did it.