Your thoughts about a TIF for Finlay Park?

This doesn’t move me much either way, but I was just wondering whether any of y’all have strong opinions about this proposal floated by the Columbia mayor:

A multimillion-dollar renovation of Finlay Park and a pedestrian-friendly remodeling of parts of two major downtown streets might be within reach if local governments will agree to a controversial financing plan being floated by Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin.Steve Benjamin Twitter

Benjamin said last week that he’s working on a proposal to create a small taxing district that would capture property taxes on buildings along Assembly Street stretching north to Laurel Street, west to just behind the rundown park and south to Washington Street.

The largest source of income would come from a proposed $60 million to $70 million, 15-story apartment building called The Edge that a Chicago-based company wants to construct near the Richland County library, Benjamin said….

Mayor Steve may propose this at an August council meeting, so you’ve got time to either encourage him or head him off with a tidal wave of protest…

This was the only picture of Finlay Park that I could find in my archives -- it's from a rehearsal of "Pride and Prejudice" in 2012.

This was the only picture of Finlay Park that I could find in my archives — it’s from a rehearsal of “Pride and Prejudice” in 2012.

9 thoughts on “Your thoughts about a TIF for Finlay Park?

  1. Brad Warthen Post author

    Just a pedantic aside: I wish Clif hadn’t called it a “controversial financing plan” in his lede.

    I was taught in J school that if you should never have to use that word in your lede. If the reader can’t tell from reading the story that it’s controversial — based on your accurate description of the situation — then either you haven’t written it right, or it actually isn’t controversial.

    If the reader CAN tell that, then the word is redundant. Either way, it comes across like you’re trying too hard to hype your story…

  2. Brad Warthen Post author

    Sometimes it’s easier to get people going on social media. Here’s what one of my Facebook friends had to say in response to my headline promoting this post:

    Looks like Mayor Steve has cooked up another expensive city improvement scheme to put the taxpayers on the hook for several more milliion bucks. This time it involves the Finley Park/Homeless Shelter and it includes a $6.5 million circular glass building that would offer panoramic views of Columbia’s homeless people pee-ing in the bushes. Can you imagine what this glass building is going to be like on one of Columbia’s Famously Hot days? I can! It will be like one of those smelly, nasty downtown parking garage elevators (also used as a port-o-pot by the homeless) only this one will have sticky-sweaty, grimey handprints smeared all over the windows. But like the Bull Street project, you can bet few questions will be asked and this project will be given carte blanche to proceed no matter what the cost or benefit to taxpayers.

    Yikes. What do you think?

    1. Michael Bramson

      They’re already talking about cutting the glass building because it would cost $6.5 million for reasons surpassing my imagination.

      I think the general idea is good. Direct taxes from the surrounding area to help the neighborhood and let the real estate developers build their housing development to provide tax revenues and give the new residents a vested interest in upkeep. Fix the railings and sidewalks in the park that are falling apart, make the surrounding streets more friendly to pedestrians and bicycles, and put the rest of the money into maintenance so that we don’t have the same crisis in twenty years. If somehow there is money for a playground left over, then by all means build it, but these fountains and event spaces and so forth just add to the total upkeep costs. The main thing is to have green space that is safe and clean.

      I also wish folks would stop acting like homeless people are a menace to be avoided and that any place where they congregate isn’t worth maintaining.

    1. Tex

      How much does it cost the city to send him to events like this? I’m assuming he’s not staying at Motel 6 or flying coach.

  3. Barry

    Just another in the long line of reasons I am glad I don’t live in Columbia or Richland County.

    And from the looks of it, fewer people are wanting to move to either.

  4. Alex Olech

    Use the penny tax money. Oh wait, someone already stole enough to pay for all those improvements to the park.

    Or we could use Richland County recreation tax dollars. Oh wait, someone is stealing those funds too.

    Or we could divert money from the water and sewer revenues. Oh wait, already stole that money too.

    You all love the mayor, don’t you?

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