Holland is considering a plan to redevelop U.S. 31 from 16th Street to 32nd Street.
HOLLAND, Mich. (WZZM) - A growing number of vacant properties and struggling businesses has Holland city leaders looking to improve a highly traveled part of town.
The city is considering a redevelopment plan for the commercial district off U.S. 31, from 16th Street to 32nd Street.
Brad White, owner of Goog's Pub and Grub, has seen his competitors try and fail.
"With industry going away, a lot of places have closed down," says White. "We're the only restaurant left in this area."
In fact, Holland city leaders are looking to improve about half a dozen vacant properties in the commercial district on U.S. 31, between 32nd Street and 16th Street.
"From a visual standpoint, it's not as attractive as it was once," says Ryan Cotton, Holland's city manager. "From a tax standpoint, it's not as productive as it once was."
Cotton says the plan is to work with property owners with tax incentives.
"They range from brownfield loans -- if there's environmental contamination -- to various tax exemptions," says Cotton.
Long-term, the plan is also meant to reduce crime in the area. City officials say some of the motels, such as the Economy Inn, have constant calls for police. Two weeks ago, a 13 On Your Side investigation revealed numerous complaints and city violations at the Wooden Shoe Motel next door. Then, last week police found a meth lab at the motel.
"It certainly elevates everyone else's consciousness," says Cotton.
Cotton hopes the plan will improve crime over the next five to ten years.
"When property use upgrades, there's a greater return on property," says Cotton. "The 'broken window theory' is something police officers talk about, crime goes down."
White says it's not too late to turn the area around.
"There's still a lot of people out there that need jobs," says White.
However, Cotton says the plan only works if property owners agree to the improvements.
Cotton says the city will be meeting with property owners in the next few months. If there's interest in redevelopment, he hopes to have public meetings on the issue within the next year.