Lebanon considers community improvement district for Route 66

The city administrator of Lebanon, Missouri, suggested to the Lebanon-Laclede County Route 66 Society it form a community improvement district to collect taxes for promotion and preservation of Route 66.

The city also is gathering pricing proposals for signs to name Lebanon’s Elm Street as “Historic Route 66.”

City administrator Mike Schumacher made several suggestions about funding Tuesday at the society board’s monthly meeting, according to a report on the Lebanon-Laclede County Route 66 Society website.

One option, Schumacher said, is to make the Route 66 corridor through Lebanon a “multiproject redevelopment” area similar to what Springfield city officials are proposing for the Kearney Street corridor. […]

Schumacher said another option for Lebanon is to create a Community Improvement District (CID) along the Route 66 corridor. The CID would have its own board of directors and, with approval of voters within the district, could establish a sales tax to be collected by businesses within its boundaries. The CID board then could spend the tax revenue on public improvements to benefit Route 66 and, in blighted areas, on contracting with property owners for the demolition, renovation or rehabilitation of buildings.

The boundaries of the CID would exclude a business that doesn’t want to be in it, Schumacher said.

Schumacher noted the society, not the city, would be in charge of the CID, although Lebanon’s city attorney could give advice.

The society took no action on the CID plan. It told Schumacher it wanted to consult with a “major” Route 66 business owner before proceeding.

Lebanon — along with dozens of other communities — in recent years have shown more interest in promoting and preserving Route 66. This undoubtedly was spurred by Rutgers University’s “Route 66 Economic Impact Study” of 2012, which showed Route 66 produced $127 million in gross domestic product and $37 million in tax revenues annually. When history books eventually tell of the Route 66 renaissance, the study will be one of the most influential events in the Mother Road’s post-decertification era.

As for the signs, the report also contained this nugget of information:

 The signs will include a heart representing the slogan that Lebanon is the “Heart of Route 66.” Installation “won’t be long.”

There also was more Route 66 news about Lebanon’s Boswell Park:

And John Shelton, director of parks and recreation, said more sidewalks will be added to Route 66-themed Boswell Park soon, and he is considering installing Route 66 information blocks, similar to those at Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield, in the sidewalks.

Shelton said completion of the striping of the mini-Route 66 in the park has been turned over to the city street department, which has more expertise than the parks department in striping.

Replica Burma-Shave signs also are planned.

He said he continues to seek an authentic Route 66 shield to install at the park.

Boswell Park in recent years has unveiled several Route 66-themed murals, including one about the Nelson family and the Nelson Dream Village that once stood along Route 66 in Lebanon.

(Image of the Munger Moss Motel in Lebanon, Missouri, by Jo Naylor via Flickr)

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