Bismarck Renaissance Zone fails to get Burleigh County approval
BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - In April, the Burleigh County Commission put the Renaissance Zone on pause. Despite multiple letters and others who pushed to keep it, the Commission held its ground Monday night.
The Renaissance Zone had support from Parks and Recreation, Bismarck Public Schools, and the Bismarck-Mandan Chamber EDC. In order to be approved, it had to pass the County Commission.
According to the state, a Renaissance Zone is an economic and community development tool that offers incentives when taxpayers undertake activities to benefit the zone and the community.
Commission Chair Jim Peluso said the zone wasn’t intended for new construction and taxes have never gone down.
Deputy Commerce Commissioner Shawn Kessel said without a vibrant downtown it’s harder to attract people to come into your community. Commissioner Becky Matthews said she “sees benefits for constituents in our county” with the zone. Bismarck business owner Ron Knutson said he’d like to see the playing field leveled when it comes to tax breaks.
Because of the pause, the Renaissance Zone will expire July 31st. There’s still hope to revive it, but it would require legislation to do so.
Commissioner Kathleen Jones urged for the law to be changed.
Kessel said, “There are changes that can be made.” Adding the intent is to bring a new version to the legislative session that starts in January.
Currently, there are 57 cities in the state with Renaissance Zones. Five cities no longer have Renaissance Zones: Kenmare, Westhope, Rolla, Watford City and Carrington. The last two want it back.
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