It seems as though we’re making progress in downtown Sedalia, thanks to the hard work of people like Carolyn Miller, Marty Lange and the good people at organizations like Sedalia Downtown Development Inc. and Furnell Companies. If we can find at least one motivated individual or group for each downtown building we would eventually see downtown Sedalia completely restored.
What we need to track down is investors: people who see the potential and appreciate the progress that has already been made and want a piece of a classic district in a town that’s on the rise. Countless people from cities all over mid-Missouri experienced downtown Sedalia in its heyday and I guarantee there’s at least one person somewhere who has very specific fond memories of just about every building and address in downtown Sedalia.
Maybe they don’t live here; maybe they never have – maybe they used to live here, and are looking for a good excuse to come back. Maybe they want to support the oldest part of the State Fair City from afar. The point is that we need to continue getting the word out so we have an increased chance of finding the perfect match for each project. Maybe that little girl who loved going to the soda counter every day for a fresh egg cream grew up to be wildly successful and particularly generous.
And with each building that gets restored the general reputation of the district continues to rise. I’ve stated before that I’d like to see a brewery in downtown Sedalia — that’s a great fit and it’s hard to find any successfully rejuvenated downtown sector that doesn’t have at least one craft brewery. That market is red hot all over the country.
But there’s not really any establishment that would be a bad fit for downtown Sedalia. How about an oxygen bar, or a shooting range? Many people foster fond thoughts of entrepreneurship, of being their own boss and being able to make a living doing something that they are passionate about. Many of us have a best-case scenario dream that starts with opening up our own little shop.
And I’m here to tell you — yes you — that you should follow those dreams and open up a business in downtown Sedalia. There are local people who love the same things you love. People will travel from miles around to spend time at a quality specialty shop that caters to their needs and is staffed with passionate professionals.
The Sedalia Downtown Development Facebook page (www.facebook.com/DowntownSedalia) recently put up a document explaining there are highly desirable tax credits for people who want to invest in downtown Sedalia. That’s why you should open your business in downtown Sedalia, because as long as you’re willing to keep the restoration of the building within certain historic standards various levels of government are willing to eat a little bit of your tax bill.
“In most cases, credits cover expenses you pay during a given year and have requirements you must satisfy before you can claim them,” the document states. These credits are even transferable, so the great work can continue from one person or organization to another.
But the part I found most surprising was at the bottom of the document: “Over 100 buildings included in downtown Sedalia’s Historic Commercial District could be eligible for historic tax credits.” That’s a lot of space, and a lot of potential and it means that if you want in then there is definitely space for you and your dream business.
Travis McMullen is a longtime Sedalia resident who shares his views on the city through his weekly Democrat column.