TREASURE ISLAND – If a small crowd of Treasure Island residents is an accurate capsule of the citizenry, pushing through legislation to fund an additional $50,000 to further study downtown redevelopment will not be a popular move.
In a March city commission meeting, Treasure Island city manager Reid Silverboard suggested to the commission that if a downtown redevelopment plan is to proceed, the city will need to spend an additional $50,000 for more studies.
Under Silverboard’s predecessor Ralph Stone, the city spent $100,000 to come up with a plan for downtown redevelopment, yet the city isn’t much closer to an organized focus for downtown redevelopment than it was previously.
Though a few downtown business leaders, members of the Chamber of Commerce and real estate officials have clamored for downtown redevelopment, a majority of downtown business owners have yet to come to an agreement on what and how a new downtown should be built.
At the April 1 commission meeting, a group of 13 Treasure Island residents stood in unison behind Chuck MacIntyre while he spoke to the commission against further funding of a downtown redevelopment plan.
“The last time the commission had divided our residents was when a past commission tried to ramrod something through,” MacIntyre said. “Fifty business owners are trying to push (downtown redevelopment) through for their own gain with our own dollars.
“You are bending to special interests.”
Given tight budgets and the recent commission elections, MacIntyre suggested to the commission that the time for downtown redevelopment is wrong.
“This is not the time to squander taxpayer’s money on something irresponsible,” MacIntyre said. “You are putting the cart before the horse.”
While most of the commissioners are in favor of downtown redevelopment, the commissioners, given their reactions in a March meeting to Silverboard’s suggestion, weren’t so motivated to spend additional funds on the project.
Two that were outspoken about this were Phil Collins and Ed Gayton.
Collins is hesitant to pursue the project until a majority of downtown business owners agree to a single concept.
Gayton has yet to be convinced a majority of downtown business owners even want a redeveloped downtown.