Rockport will soon be home to a new billion dollar fertilizer plant.
The mayor says the city is making an unprecedented effort to revitalize its downtown area.
Downtown Rockport features a courthouse, some law offices, and several abandoned buildings. It isn't exactly the picture of economic growth these days, but Mayor Goffinet, and a few locals we spoke to Friday say, the city is taking steps to return to its former glory.
"The buildings got old and people, the people that owned them were older and I guess it's what happens to a lot of small towns," said Lou Boyd, Rockport resident.
Lou Boyd has lived in Rockport since 1961.
She says the downtown area was once a vibrant, prosperous part of town. That is looked very different than it does today.
"There was a time when there were shops and restaurants and more people," said Boyd.
But Boyd says those days are long gone. As tall, empty buildings sit on quiet, empty streets.
On Saturday mornings, you could run up and down the street and not even have to watch out for a car," said Boyd.
"We want to create a TIF district for our downtown area," said Harold Goffinet, Rockport Mayor.
A 'Tax Increment Finance' or 'TIF' district, would allow the city to use 'property tax revenue' to help support downtown businesses, but before that happens, Goffinet says they will need to create a six-member downtown 'redevelopment commission.' A first for Rockport.
"I have asked the city council, they have two appointments," said Mayor Goffinet I've asked them to think about their two appointments. The mayor, myself, I have three appointments. There is a non-voting member from the South Spencer School district. So, the school will have to come up with a non-voting member for this also."
Goffinet says the redevelopment commission would decide which businesses receive 'TIF' money and when. For now, the potential 'TIF' district is in the early stages, but it's a start.
"It'll bring, hopefully bring, life to downtown city of Rockport," said Mayor Goffinet.
Goffinet also mentioned that the city recently bought three vacant buildings downtown, and is in the process of renovating them to rent to potential new businesses.
Goffient also says official discussion of who will be on the city's 'redevelopment commission' will begin in January.
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