ST. LOUIS ( -- Citizens for a Greater Downtown STL has come out against a proposal to extend the Downtown Community Improvement District, or CID, and instead wants renewed focus on safety.

For nearly 20 years, the CID has had the role of making downtown better for businesses, residents and visitors.

But a group of downtown stakeholders believe the current CID is failing.

“Downtown St. Louis has been going in the wrong direction this entire time, violent crime rates and perceptions of downtown safety have become horrible. We've seen declining office, residential, rental rates and occupancy, visitor and tourist rates have plummeted,” Matt O’Leary said.

[RELATED: New plan aims to make downtown St. Louis safer, attract more business]

Citizens for a Greater Downtown is a group made up of downtown residents, businesses, property owners and others. They had a webinar Tuesday to speak out against a current petition that would extend the CID for the next 20 years.

Downtown STL Inc. manages the CID, and if extended, the two would be split with the CID only focused on safety, beautification and infrastructure while STL Inc. would just focus on marketing.

But Citizens for a Greater Downtown doesn’t think the proposal goes far enough.

“But what the CID can do is be an effective catalyst, show some energy, show some passion, and be an advocate for downtown. We don't see a CID staff walking around downtown, we don't hear them speaking out on behalf of downtown very often,” O’Leary said.

The current CIS collects about $3.6 million per year funded by a special property tax. One of their expenses is hiring secondary security to patrol downtown streets.

“The CID’s solution to just about any security issue is to point to the secondary police officers that it spends assessment revenues to fund, who drive around downtown, mostly during weekdays, mostly not doing a whole lot,” the group said.

According to the latest data, violent crime in downtown and downtown west are both up significantly this year compared to last year.

Copyright 2020 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved


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