Leaders consider future of Blue Ridge Corridor in west Raleigh

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Raleigh city leaders are considering what it would look like to boost services along the Blue Ridge Corridor, also known as the western gate to the capital city.

At the city council's budget work session Monday afternoon, the Budget and Management Services Dept. presented the results of a 2019 feasibility study for establishing a municipal service district (MSD) along Blue Ridge Road.

In an MSD, properties in the district pay a special property tax in addition to property taxes levied throughout the city, and benefit from services provided exclusively to that district, i.e., sidewalk cleaning, safety ambassador program, business retention and recruitment, marketing and hosting festivals.

Right now, Raleigh has two MSDs: the Downtown Business District where property owners pay $0.06 per $100 of assessed valuation, and the Hillsborough Street District which pays $0.15 per $100 of assessed valuation.

Back in August 2012, a Blue Ridge Road District Study looked at a two-mile stretch of Blue Ridge Road that included some of the city's most-visited attractions: PNC Arena, Carter-Finley Stadium, the NC Art Museum and the NC State Fairgrounds.

The study noted that even with the popular attractions and major employers such as a Rex UNC Health Care in the area, the car-centric district with a lack of entertainment and service uses, struggled to support the large number of visitors.

City staff presented the most recent study to council Monday, which shows turning the Blue Ridge Corridor into an MSD could mean extra services for the area including growing and enhancing its retail sector, clean team crews to sweep and power wash sidewalks and trash cans, a safety ambassador team and additional safety lighting.

The plan would need to pass through several steps, including a public engagement process, before the budget takes effect July 1.
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