Boosting Downtowns

By: Justin Ware
By: Justin Ware

Tom Zalac says helping any one business in a downtown area is a good thing for everyone who does business there.

"I think it all intertwines because if you've got one person walking down to the Hostel Shoppe to look at sports skis or something, they see our display, 'Oh, it's interesting for Christmas," said Tom Zalac, Lee Ayers Jewelers.

If passed, House Bill 514 would give tax breaks for things like remodeling old structures and help a city in their attempts to get road construction projects completed.

Association of Downtown Businesses member Ron Blaha says a downtown is important to a city because it's often the first area newcomers visit.

"When people come into a new community, whether it be new hires, people just moving in, the first thing they want to do is see what their downtown looks like," said Blaha.

In Stevens Point and many other area towns, Blaha says the trend for businesses has been to the city's fringe areas, something he hopes the bill that has just passed through a Senate committee will put a stop to.