Council to Vote on Pico Business District
By Jorge Casuso
Unlike the city's trendy commercial strips, Pico Boulevard is a scattered hodge-podge of shops, many of which are struggling with stagnant growth and the rising cost of doing business.
On Tuesday night, the 34-block stretch of restaurants, repair shop, retailers, gas stations, cheap motels, luxury hotels, a high school and a college will likely join its trendier neighbors as the city's fourth business district.
If the council gives Pico merchants the go ahead, the boulevard will join Main Street, Montana Avenue and the Bayside District as one of the city's business improvement areas. The designation will help the commercial strip raise more than $70,000 a year to promote business and address a parking problem that is growing with the pending formation of preferential parking zones in surrounding neighborhoods.
"It's going to open new territory for the Pico district," said Jim Stebinger, chairman of the Pico Improvement Association and an employee of Trader Joe's. "Each day there are more options and opportunities. It's an opportunity for the small businesses to band together to protect their future."
Annual assessments would be paid according to the following formula:
· Retail, hotels and motels would pay a sliding scale equivalent
to the business license fee up to an annual maximum of $1,000.
The Chamber of Commerce, which has assisted in the formation of the Pico Business Improvement District will provide administrative support, bookkeeping, liability insurance, payroll reporting service and other functions necessary to administer the district.
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