There are several storylines in the effort by owners of the Macon Mall to have a yet-to-be designated area declared a Community Improvement District by the state General Assembly. A CID is where business owners in the district assess an additional property tax on themselves to pay for what they see are needed improvements, such as landscaping, security and other area upgrades. No residential properties are involved. The effort must get 75 percent of the affected property owners’ approval.
The first storyline is that the owners of the mall have not given up. They have already poured millions of dollars into the area. That means they -- Hull Storey Gibson, the company that owns the mall -- believes in its viability and is seeking to return it to its place as a premier shopping location. They know that people will shop in areas that are well-maintained and are safe. The other storyline is sort of amazing. It’s hard to look at the Eisenhower corridor and ask, as Rep. Nikki Randall, D-Macon, did, “What needs to be improved in the area? Because I think the corridors are just fine, I think the medians are fine.”
The Eisenhower corridor has been in decline for years as stores, starting at Pio Nono and Eisenhower, have sought greener pastures or have gone out of business. The medians are not fine -- and what was once a bustling shopping area has turned into Empty-Strip-Centers Central and a poster child for the blight that occurs when hopscotching strip malls are allowed.
If the owners want to correct things they feel are a hindrance to their success in the area by taxing themselves, there is no reason for lawmakers to stand in their way. Rather, they should say, “Thank you.”