Granby should help library retire its construction debt
March 4, 2008
To the Editor:
I have owned a downtown Granby business since 1999 and have owned a home here since 2003. I have been a member of the Board of Adjustments, served on the design and fundraising committees for the new Granby Library, and am active on the Downtown Enhancement Publicity Committee. With my time, money and reputation staked on Granby’s future, I have been discouraged by recent developments.
The Granby Board’s failure to pledge a portion of Granby’s downtown enhancement funds to help retire part of the debt incurred for reconstruction of the Granby Library is puzzling: Does the Board believe that a beautiful, modern civic center encompassing Town Hall, library, town park and the post office is NOT an important part of our downtown?
A five-year pledge from the town will help the library district bring in $250,000 from private sources. This is a quarter of a million dollars that, if we choose not to meet the challenge grant, will eventually have to come out of taxpayers’ pockets.
Representatives of both Grand Elk and Granby Ranch ” sources of the bulk of Granby’s downtown enhancement funds, by the way ” appeared before the Board last year in support of the GCLD request. Many local citizens and visitors have also contributed toward the challenge ” how embarrassing that the town is now telling these willing donors that our community library isn’t worth accepting free money for.
Second, as a downtown business owner, I am puzzled by the mayor’s comments regarding the “negative image” of certain kinds of businesses. And I am disappointed that apparently none of the Board members cared or dared to dissent.
A downtown program is all about creating and sustaining a healthy source of sales tax revenue. So it seems self-defeating to create an environment that discourages legitimate businesses ” of any kind ” from choosing our town.
Current enhancement plans include updating the sign code and building design standards, improving snow removal, and making traffic and parking improvements. By effecting and consistently enforcing these rules, we can create a downtown pleasing to residents, visitors and businesses.
Once we have run out of empty storefronts on Agate Avenue, maybe we can afford to be more selective.
In the meantime, if we are truly interested in attracting the “right kind” of businesses, we’d have better luck with an attractive and busy downtown than with a negative and arbitrarily obstructionist process.
Grand River Coffee Company