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Want a Pretty Downtown? Pay Up!

By Rachelle Bowden in News on Aug 30, 2005 11:49AM

2005_08_millenniumpark.jpgOwn a business or live downtown? Want pretty parks to make your life more pleasurable? Daley says if your answer is "yes" to both questions then you should put your money where your mouth is. The City is considering a special taxing zone downtown to pay for landscaping, transportation upgrades, beautification of the central business district and operating Millennium Park.

If the "Downtown Special Service Area" wins approval, property owners downtown will be hit with an additional tax of about $17.5 million on the first year. Right now the area is confined to State St, but would potentially stretch from Grand to Roosevelt and from the Lake to the Kennedy.

The city is quick to say that the money wouldn't be used to pay off the Millennium Park bonds, it would be used maintain the park, which costs $7.4 million/year. Other things the money would be used for - a new busway under Clinton St., other transportation improvements, marketing of the area to retain tenants and also to make people to want to move there, and seasonal programs at the Daley Center and other plazas.

Critics are, of course saying, that this is unfairly putting the City's burden on downtown property owners.

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