A couple of weeks ago, the very group of CBID board members who have raised great concern for many progressive interests did a historic and gutsy thing. This group voted to devote considerable resources to all-boats-rising potential and bring Knoxville's first international retail brand of its kind to the heart of our real downtown. ["Downtown's Retail Boost" by Joe Sullivan, March 11, 2010] Other brands exist in the other developer "downtowns" in our suburbs. This one is very special. Urban Outfitters helps all retail and traffic in our real downtown. Moreover, we will have a run of interest from other UO brands and other eclectic, competitive retailers for the college crowd and older demographics like mine.
This was a courageous, long-term-thinking man's vote for a nice change. I was there for the prudent debate, the voices of reason, and for the odd words from bankers, too. Fair and balanced it was. The vote was unanimous and, again, historic too. Thanks to Patrick Hunt's leadership and that of the majority of the CBID Board who understood a great opportunity to re-invest limited tax dollars, which only property owners in the few square blocks of the CBID pay into. Now we just need to push those downtown boundaries a bit and expand the tax base to Cumberland Avenue, up Central, up Broadway, out Magnolia, and along both riverfronts where city tax dollars are invested to enhance their traffic, retail, and pedestrian experiences... then, the CBID will really have the budget and capability to accelerate the expansion and growth of our downtown living, working, playing, and shopping as the newly approved strategic plan states.