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Agency OKs Plan to Boost Retail Sales : Redevelopment: Sales tax revenues in the city have lagged. The new program aims to boost business citywide.


GLENDALE — Spurred by a study warning that Glendale is losing retail sales tax dollars, the Redevelopment Agency on Tuesday adopted a plan to spur sales and attract new businesses.

Though no tax dollars have been committed to the program, the five-member City Council, which also serves as the agency, said dramatic steps are needed to recapture Glendale's share of retail sales in the region.

A study by private consultants warned that sales tax revenues have lagged behind the rate of inflation in the last 10 years. Except for the Glendale Galleria and auto dealers, local retailers are capturing only 41% of their potential market, compared with 90% in 1980, according to the report by Keyser Marston Associates Inc.

"The magnitude of the decline is alarming and should be addressed immediately," wrote Richard L. Botti, a longtime adviser to the city.

The plan calls for the agency staff and other city departments to work with the businesses for changes ranging from street, lighting and parking improvements to identifying large parcels of land that could be made available to major retailers and discount warehouse businesses like the Price Club, said Redevelopment Director Jeanne Armstrong.

Other possibilities are establishing retail districts similar to Old Pasadena and Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica and expanding and modernizing neighborhood shopping centers.

"It's time we move beyond being passive," said Councilwoman Eileen Givens. "We need to reinvigorate the retail sector in town . . . to move out actively and assertively."

The agency only has authority over the downtown redevelopment zone, but members said the plan will be used to boost business citywide. "We need to do some things that are somewhat dramatic," said agency chairman Carl Raggio.

Despite the city's tight financial condition because of the recession, any money spent to promote new business development would be "an investment in the future," City Manager David Ramsay said.

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