Fondren BID approved

Fondren is well on its way to having the second business improvement district in the state of Mississippi.

Last week, 84 percent of business owners in the affected area voted to form the Fondren Business Improvement District, or BID. Property owners voted to pay a special assessment along with their annual property taxes, which will be used specifically to fund beautification, security and other public improvements in the area.

“I’m very pleased with the outcome of the vote and am looking forward to forming a new entity for the business improvement district,” he said. “The vote in favor was 84 percent. That’s a huge positive,” said Jim Wilkirson, executive director of the Fondren Renaissance Foundation (FRF).

FRF helped spearhead BID efforts and worked with Millsaps College and Downtown Jackson Partners, the entity that heads up the Downtown Business Improvement District.

Up next, the results will be presented to the Jackson City Council, which will vote to make the district official. Wilkirson said that vote is expected to take place at the council’s November 20 regular meeting.

After that, a board of directors will be formed to oversee the BID.

The BID will go into effect on January 1, but money would not come into the district until 2020.

“We probably will go ahead and form our entity and figure out who we want to look at for doing certain things,” Wilkirson said. “Then, we may go ahead and fund a portion of the BID so we can start on landscape maintenance and work on security upgrades.”

Main objectives of the Fondren BID include public safety, landscaping and maintenance, economic development and marketing and wayfinding upgrades. Fifty percent of the budget, or $117,000, will go toward public safety; landscaping will take up 20 percent of the budget; while economic development and marketing and wayfinding will each receive 2.5 percent of the budget. The remaining 15 percent of BID funding will go toward administrative costs,

 The district will be bordered by Lakeland Drive at I-55 on the east, Oxford Avenue between Hartfield and Taylor drives on the west, the intersection of North State Street and Old Canton Road on the south and the visual line of Hartfield and Glenway Drive on the north, according to previous Sun reports.

One-hundred and fifty parcels are located within the proposed area, 47 of which would be tax-exempt. The proposed rate of taxation would be eight cents per square foot of land and eight cents per square foot of building. FRF estimates that the tax will generate about $235,000 annually.

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