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Tax Incentive Aimed at Turning Around Fairview

By Mallory Peebles, Crime and Law Enforcement, Natural Resources and Parks Reporter, Fill-in Anchor, mpeebles@ktuu.com
Published On: Aug 06 2014 07:08:21 AM AKDT
Updated On: Jul 21 2014 08:30:00 PM AKDT

It's an area that has been troubled by crime recently, but a grassroots effort to revitalize Fairview is close to becoming a reality.

ANCHORAGE -

The latest effort to revitalize Anchorage's Fairview district comes in the form of a tax incentive.

Paul Fuhs, project manager for the Fairview Business Association, says the proposed incentive is based on making the city pay for costs currently passed on to Fairview businesses.

"When somebody makes a development, the city makes them upgrade a lot of times -- the water line, sewer line, electrical generation, roads, sidewalks -- and that's not really part of the project, it's municipal infrastructure." Fuhs said. "So we're saying you ought to get a tax credit for that, and that'll be a tax incentive for this area."

The tax incentive would allow business and multi-family housing developers to write off public infrastructure costs. The Municipality of Anchorage requires developers to pay for upgrades on the property where needed, and that can include new water and sewer lines plus street work on curbs and sidewalks.

Locals say Fairview's main challenge to attracting business is its safety and image. So far this month, Anchorage police says the neighborhood has seen Hooper Bay woman Jessica Lake found dead, and a shooting that injured two people when a man fired into a crowd during a disturbance.

Inebriates can also be seen hanging out daily on Gambell Street, the neighborhood's main southbound artery. The street, which carries traffic entering town from the Glenn Highway directly to the Seward Highway, brings numerous drivers to Fairview -- only for most to leave it behind about a minute later.

Fuhs says new storefronts and affordable housing will attract more wholesome attention.

“Often what you find is you've got to change the architecture of the area and if you change that, you're going to change the behavior,” Fuhs said.

The Anchorage Assembly is set to vote on the tax incentive at its meeting Tuesday night.