A strong and appealing downtown is of undisputed importance to the well-being of the entire community of Payette. This plan outlines a revitalization strategy that will strengthen and enhance the city center, leading to expanded patronage and new private investment. As outlined in the plan an ambitious number of projects are proposed. The revitalization would occur through the related actions of the public and private sectors utilizing the plan as a blueprint around which a working partnership can operate.
A coordinated strategy for revitalization is required. Initially, small tasks should be accomplished in order to give the downtown confidence. An incremental self-help approach will be more beneficial and longer lasting than relying on big projects to revitalize the city center. Strong participation by the private sector will sharpen their entrepreneurial skills and allow the self-reliance needed for long-term success.
This planning effort, funded with public dollars, has served as a catalyst for revitalization and provided the initial momentum needed to allow the downtown to become more viable and attractive. Continued management and action is now called for to implement the recommended plan, which may require up to five years to accomplish. The first objective, and the one with the largest potential payoff, will be to establish an effective, action-oriented organization to stimulate and coordinate the implementation of the plan. Effective management is the key to successful implementation; therefore, it is recommended that the city of Payette join with the Payette Chamber of Commerce and the IDA-ORE “Main Street Program” to over-see the development of the plan and provide direction.
The public sector would be responsible for such public improvements to the downtown as street upgrading, street lights, parking management and enforcement, parks, public signing, sewer, fire and water improvements, overall planning, coordination and ad-ministration.
City funding to accomplish these tasks can be received through community development allocations and funds from the annual city capital improvement fund. The city’s capital improvement program and budget would involve scheduling physical improvements for the downtown over a period of time with consideration for priorities and the financial capabilities of the community. Other federal and state funds may be available depending on project eligibility and the reshaping of public programs.
The benefits of revitalizing the downtown are sufficiently attractive to the business sector to justify committing private capital for building rehabilitation and improvements that will increase sales and business. It is recommended that the private land owners within the study area form a Local Improvement District (LID) as a method of extending streetscape and parking improvements over a period of years. Under an LID the city government can assess individual property owners for specific public improvements that will improve the downtown business climate.
The businesses or merchants in the city center would establish a Business Improvement District (BID) authorizing the city of Payette to assess a small yearly fee to support such activities as promotion, events, physical improvements and maintenance. The BID would be controlled by the merchants themselves and is an ideal way to get all merchants to contribute to their own future success.
Securing funding for worthwhile projects within the community should remain a priority. Given Payette’s unique economic disadvantage due to no sales tax in nearby Ontario, Oregon and past problems created for the downtown by the Highway 52 overpass and Interstate 84 location the city is deserving of public assistance. Favorable outside funding will depend on the city working together and establishing one small success after another.
A variety of funding sources are available and include the following:
The Idaho Department of Commerce could help to establish a revolving loan fund for commercial rehabilitation and the side-walk Demonstration Project.
The Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation, through the U.S. Land and Water Conservation Fund, could assist the Payette River Greenbelt.
The Idaho State Historical Society and the U.S. Department of Interior could be helpful in providing assistance to rehabilitation projects.
The Idaho Travel Council can continue to help promote the area.
Likewise, the continued efforts of the Southwest Idaho Private Industry Council’s Youth Employment Program can put young people to work improving the community.
IDA-ORE Planning and Development Association can also play a role by providing professional economic and community development services.