PORT CLINTON — Efforts behind making Port Clinton’s historic downtown look and feel as great a place to work and visit as it possibly can be are continuing to grow momentum.
The latest big “step forward” is the implementation of a special improvement district, or SID, which the Main Street Port Clinton nonprofit organization has been working on for nearly a decade, according to Mayor Mike Snider.
A special improvement district, as defined by Ohio law, is a specific taxable base within a designated area that property owners within the area approve of and assist in determining how to use the revenue.
“Essentially, what a special improvement district is in layman’s terms like a condo association made up of all the building owners in our downtown,” said Nicole Kochensparger, president of Main Street Port Clinton, whose mission is to support and promote downtown for businesses, residents and visitors.
Ohio law describes the function of a SID as follows: “Downtown property owners organize and assess themselves a cost to provide funding for extended services aimed at the economic enhancement of the area.”
Money can help with snow removal, window-washing, seagull control
“We’ve spent years surveying our building owners on what they wanted to come out of this special improvement district,” Kochensparger said.
She referenced snow removal, frequent and regular window washing and seagull control, to name a few of the benefits the revenue from the new SID could pay for local downtown properties.
Snider emphasized the new district does not take any resources away from the city.
“Those building owners have agreed to assess themselves for the services they will determine are needed,” he said.
Lee Vivod, of Huntington Bank, a member of Main Street Port Clinton’s economic restructuring subcommittee, has been working on the SID project for eight-nine years.
“It’s been quite the learning process,” Vivod said. “I think it’s something the city and the downtown area can be proud of. I think it compliments everything else that’s going on down there.”
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“These guys have been with me every step of the way since I took over,” Kochensparger said of the subcommittee. “We’re happy.”
Vivod also noted services are open to be expanded at later dates as well, and the district could be expanded, if desired and approved by nearby property owners, too.
Here are the district's perimeters
At this time, the district will begin at the corner of Madison Street and Perry Street and proceed south to end at the corner of Madison Street and East Third Street, and include from the corner of Jefferson Street and Second Street and proceed west to the easternmost intersection of Monroe Street and Second Street.
Based on Ohio law, to establish a SID requires approval and signatures of no fewer than 60% of the property owners within the proposed district, and signatures reaching 63% of the property owners were presented to Port Clinton City Council before it passed a resolution supporting the establishment of the district.
Kochensparger said there actually is higher support for establishing the district than they figure, but at the time the petition was being circulated several properties were in the process of changing ownership, however, they do have the word-of-mouth commitment from new property owners.
Forming a board of directors
She said a complete set of survey answers pertaining to the local SID is ready to be presented to the eventual elected board of the district once it has been established.
Snider said no further action is needed from City Council. He and two other officials will have seats on the district’s board. He said he intends to appoint Margaret Phillips and Jerry Tarolli, both council members, to the board as well.
Kochensparger also will have a seat on that board, joined by other business owners, she said, allowing for accountability and transparency.
“It’s just another step forward to make our downtown a better place to visit,” Snider said.
The next step is for the Ottawa County Auditor's Office to work with each of the property owners on their individual assessments.
This article originally appeared on Port Clinton News Herald: Port Clinton adding 'special improvement district' to downtown area