An attorney representing several businesses in Richland Village is imploring the Buena Vista Township Committee to continue the progress made at the rail station-themed business center.
Committee members will hold a public hearing at 8 p.m. Monday at Township Hall at 890 Harding Highway to discuss the project's future. Committee members had discussed the possibility of selling or demolishing some of the buildings at a meeting last month.
No decisions have been made, but the committee has asked for public input at the meeting.
Attorney Louis Magazzu toured various businesses and attractions inside the tourist destination Wednesday.
Since 2005, the township has collected $3.1 million in grants and spent $900,000 in township bond ordinances. They currently own eight buildings and have businesses that pay nearly $40,000 a year in rent. There are also two vacant buildings the township could renovate to bring in new tenants, Magazzu said.
If the township sold the buildings, it would get some money from the sales and collect about $20,000 a year in taxes on those properties under the current tax rate, Magazzu said. But he noted the money from the sales would be a one-time cash infusion.
"Every town has different tools, and I think Buena Vista was very clever to create Richland Village as a destination site," he said. "We're optimistic the Township Committee will do the right thing and build on the successful vision that's already underway."
Magazzu also said the township would need to examine all of the grants it has received to determine if they allow the township to sell a property to a private developer. If not, the township could have to repay some of the grant money, he said.
Tony Robideau and his wife, Jennifer, bought the Richland Deli from the previous owners in July and lease their space from the township. Robideau, who said he invested more than $10,000 into the building, said he started with the understanding the township was in support and would keep the rent relatively stable. He said he fears a private developer coming in and raising rents or affecting the current state of the district.
"This is a great establishment," he said. "I'm looking forward to keeping this business."
Chris Price, an employee at It's A Toy Store, said the committee should not jeopardize the existing businesses that are successful in Richland Village.
"(The toy store) has grown with other businesses," he said. "It's shown there is growth and potential in Richland Village."
Contact Joel Landau:
@landaupressofac on Twitter