How to voice your opinion on the Belgrade Downtown Design Plan virtual public meeting

BELGRADE- The city of Belgrade is asking you to help them out in deciding how their downtown area should continue to grow at a virtual public meeting on Thursday Nov. 19, 2020, at noon.

The Belgrade Urban Renewal Plan was made in 2017 in response to the Belgrade City Council recognizing the existence of conditions that contribute to blight within the commercial center area of Belgrade.

“We have some decaying infrastructure, lack of sidewalks, poor drainage things like that, that need to be fixed so we identified the urban renewal district that will allow us to form what’s called a TIF or a tax increment finance district,” Jason Karp, planning director for the city of Belgrade said.

TIF is a state authorized, locally driven funding tool that allows cities and counties to direct property tax dollars that accrue from new development.

Karp said TIF’s don’t raise any taxes, and if a new building was built, that building would pay more taxes because of the increase in their evaluation.

That increase in evaluation would then adjust the amount of money spent on funding of other projects in downtown Belgrade, and now that they have accumulated money from those TIF’s the next step is to form a plan.

“We want to provide better street lighting and pedestrian connectivity, parking will be a feature, probably looking at another parking lot or parking structure eventually,” Karp explained.

Belgrade Downtown Design Plan’s virtual public meeting starts Nov. 19 at noon and there’s a variety of different ways you can have your voice be heard.

The “Be Heard Belgrade” website can be found here with all the information you need to know about the plan as well as an interactive map where you can pin a public comment on a map of downtown Belgrade.

A link to the zoom meeting can be found here.

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