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At the community forum in Carbondale on Jan. 4, developer Rich Schierburg accused opponents of the Village at Crystal River of using outdated numbers. He presented lower estimates for business activity at VCR, and acted as if his lower numbers were the ones he’d been using all along.

In fact, the town of Carbondale has not seen his lower estimates, and, worryingly, the trustees voted on the basis of those outdated numbers.

On top of all that, the new numbers are even worse for local businesses and the community as a whole.



According to the “old” information on the town of Carbondale website, the developer estimated that the fast-food restaurant he plans to build will generate sales of $2.5 million per year. Of that amount, he claimed 80 percent of the spending on Big Macs, or $2 million, will be brand-new spending – business activity that does not currently exist. Current spending at local eateries would account for $500,000 spent at the fast-food restaurant.

The developer now claims that the fast-food restaurant will generate just $1.25 million in business annually. And of that amount, only 50 percent, or $612,500, will be brand-new spending. The other 50 percent will come from current spending at local restaurants. That is a profoundly worse deal for Carbondale!



Under the “new” numbers, $612,500 will be siphoned off from places like Fat Belly Burger, Peppino’s, White House Pizza, the Pour House and Dos Gringos.

Are we ready to see our local businesses close down for the sake of McDonald’s or Burger King?

Additionally, sales-tax generation for the entire project at full build-out falls from $335,000 per year to somewhere between $180,000 and $220,000 per year.

The fact that Schierburg is willing to simply pull numbers out of the air shows just how shaky the economic foundation is for the Village at Crystal River.

What did not change was the 1 percent public improvement fee that will be charged to our groceries and other spending at Village at Crystal River over two decades in order to subsidize this developer.

Please, vote no.

Allyn Harvey

Carbondale

I have read almost every letter from both sides on the Village at Crystal River debate. I would like to see one smart growth idea from the self acclaimed “smarter growth” side. Just one serious idea, that’s all. They have had 12 years, and all they’ve said is no, no, no.

First it was no big box, then not that store, and then, that is not what is good for us. Why don’t they just be honest and say what they are, citizens for no growth.

The Say YES group wants to move forward with something positive for the town. “Locals for Smarter Growth” just says no and no and no.

Ask some local merchants and trades people if they are better off than they were four years ago. Some recognize the problem and are trying to help with occasional cash mobs. That’s noble, but it only helps one merchant for one night, and is not a long-term solution for the town.

What we need to do is to say yes to Carbondale and do something positive instead of chanting the 12-year-old mantra of no, no, no. Twelve years of no is enough.

It’s time for yes, yes, yes.

Bill Grant

Carbondale


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