Missoula Redevelopment Agency Explains Mall Street Improvements
At KGVO’s request, Missoula Redevelopment Agency Business Manager Jil Dunn was the featured guest on Talk Back’s KGVO “City Talk” segment on Friday.
Dunn appeared with City of Missoula Communications Director Ginny Merriam to answer questions from the public about the MRA’s role in community development.
Dunn began by stating that the agency is embarking on an effort to better communicate the agency’s purpose and inner workings, and asked the public to better educate themselves about the ARM.
“We are embarking on a communications campaign to help educate the people of Missoul and our surrounding residents about how it works,” Dunn said. “Then hopefully they can understand it better, and then when they get educated about it and see what kind of things we can do with the tax increase, everyone can have their own opinion and have their judgment. , but I think it’s important to educate yourself before having those opinions.
A caller asked about road improvements in the Southgate Mall area which were completed shortly before the mall was sold and questioned the timing of the project which he said benefited the sellers.
“In terms of the Southgate Mall project, this area was added to the Third Urban Renewal District at a time when malls across the country were becoming vacant and dark,” she said. “For example, Helen. Helena’s mall in the middle of town got dark and they ended up tearing it down, and we really didn’t want that area to decline as consumer spending shifted more to the internet.
Dunn hit the nail on the head again, saying the improvements weren’t for the benefit of mall owners, but were important road safety projects.
“The money that was spent on Southgate Mall improvements did not go to the owners of Southgate Mall,” she said. “The money that was used for the improvements was for these public streets. For example, Mary Avenue. I just drove over it on my way here this morning. So roundabouts, curbs, gutters, sidewalks, streets, pedestrian crossings, and crossing over railway tracks. That’s what the tax increase funding has funded in this area.
Dunn referenced a graphic that outlines tax increment funding and the Missoula Redevelopment Agency and said they are available online or in person at the MRA office at 140 West Pine downtown.
Click here to listen to the full City Talk with Jill Dunn of the Missoula Redevelopment Agency.
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