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Chamber's redevelopment proposal focus of Nov. 10 town-hall meeting

A town-hall meeting to obtain residents' comments about a commercial and residential redevelopment proposal for 15 acres off Yuma Drive will take place at 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 10, at the Green Park Resident Center, 9300 Green Park Road.

The Green Park Board of Aldermen last month directed Green Park Chamber of Commerce President Jim Smoot to conduct the town-hall meeting.

The board instructed Smoot to schedule the town-hall meeting after hearing a presentation regarding the Chamber of Com-merce's proposal, which calls for purchasing all of the businesses and residences on Yuma Drive and replacing them with a new commercial corridor facing South Lindbergh Boulevard that would include a 24-hour convenience store, a new "sit-down'' restaurant, a new Lion's Choice restaurant and a new Fantasy Coachworks building as well as a retail building that would include multiple businesses.

At the rear of the proposed commercial corridor would be the street Yuma Place, which would be extended from the adjacent subdivision where it dead ends to Flori Drive. On the other side of the new Yuma Place would be a buffer of town homes facing the commercial corridor on one side and the houses on Marbob Road in Ronnie Hills on the other side.

No developers have been solicited for the plan and the town-hall meeting is designed to help aldermen decide if they want to pursue the redevelopment proposal.

Smoot told the Call that he is excited about the opportunity to share the plan with Green Park residents.

"The idea is to get as much information as possible from the residents," he said.

Smoot, who owns Fantasy Coachworks and the vacant lot behind it, first submitted the Chamber of Commerce's proposal to the Planning and Zoning Commission, which voted unanimously Sept. 2 to have the Board of Aldermen review the plan.

On Sept. 15, the Board of Aldermen reviewed the proposal, which faced scrutiny from board members.

Aldermen raised concerns about a number of issues, including the financing and over-all feasibility of the project.

Two financing mechanisms that have been discussed to help fund the redevelopment proposal are a Neighborhood Im-provement District and a Transportation Development District. A TDD would allow the city to impose a quarter-cent sales tax to help pay for the public improvements, such as a stoplight, streets and sewer and drainage improvements. A NID is similar in that it would pay for the public improvements but it is a special property assessment tax that would be added to homeowners property tax.

Green Park Mayor Steve Armstrong told the Call in a recent interview that he believed the plan looked good on the surface, but still needed careful review, particularly the financing.

"... I think what Jim (Smoot) elaborated on was that: 'Hey, this is kind of a rough draft' and I think there's issues on the plan that need to be addressed and we need to address them and figure out the whole thing. There are a lot of things we have to figure out with the financing of stuff," Arm-strong said.

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