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Should Johnson City make a retail and tourism district?

Johnson City Press • Dec 23, 2019 at 2:37 PM

Johnson City’s commissioners are considering a new district in the Boones Creek area they hope will bring economic development and new tax revenue.

In his reporting last week, Press staff writer David Floyd explained the commission’s first-reading vote Thursday to approve a retail and tourism development district in the growing community.

The incentive program, created by the state General Assembly this year, gives developers the ability to apply for incentives, which will come from state sales tax revenue generated in the district, a 938-acre area chosen by city planners.

The state will keep two-sevenths of the 7% state sales tax generated in the district, determine what portion of the remaining revenues has been generated beyond the district’s current, baseline tax revenues, and send that money back to the city to use as incentives. The city will still keep the 2.5% it collects as local option sales tax.

The enacting legislation requires $20 million in capital investment in the district, one million visitors a year and the generation of $2 million a year in state sales tax revenue.

City leaders envision something like The Pinnacle in Bristol on land near the Boones Creek exit from Interstate 26. The large shopping development in Bristol brings millions of visitors a year and adds to local sales tax collections.

Some, however, criticized it for cannibalizing from existing retail centers, as nearby stores closed and opened new locations at the Pinnacle.

Johnson City commissioners will vote on the district twice more at upcoming meetings. We’d like to know your thoughts.

Should the city create a retail and tourism development district in Boones Creek? Why or why not? What do you believe are the benefits or negative effects of such a district?

Send your correspondence to [email protected]. Letters may be no longer than 300 words and may be edited for length, style or content.

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