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Kilgore advisory board discusses future of downtown commerce

Kilgore advisory board discusses future of downtown commerce
Longview News-Journal
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POSTED: Tuesday, December 3, 2013 - 12:00pm

UPDATED: Tuesday, December 3, 2013 - 12:14pm

In the wake of a restaurant closing, a retail store shutting down and a nearly 20 percent decline in sales tax collections in the past year, Kilgore city staff and Main Street board members came together Monday to discuss the future of downtown commerce.

Denise Reinert, chairwoman for Kilgore’s Main Street Advisory Board, said the crux of the issue is merchants offering goods their customers can’t afford.

“I work with the public and everyone says, ‘I can’t afford downtown’,” Reinert said.

Most recently, downtown restaurant Nanny Goats Café and retail shop Barton and Beane have closed. They’re now among several vacancies in downtown commercial space.

“We are always working on retail development,” City Manager Scott Sellers said. “We don’t like any retailer to close its doors but unfortunately when that does happen we have to be there to fill that vacancy and that is what we will continue to do. But the city’s role only goes so far.”

Sellers noted that downtown Kilgore has “too many dark spaces” and those vacancies have created a drop in sales tax revenues this year.
 

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