Tuesday, we told you Macon's Target is closing its doors for good in February of this year. This makes Target the third major store to leave the Eisenhower Crossing area. Dick's Sporting Goods was once in the shopping center and hhgregg was just up the street.
Veronica Wilder says she started working at Macon’s Eisenhower Crossing seven years ago.
“Pretty much booming business constantly. Then Dick's left,” says Wilder.
She says she was shocked to hear that Target is doing the same.
“I couldn't believe it because we don't have another Target in this area, and this is the only one, and we just wonder what else we'll get in this mall,” says Wilder.
Wilder says she does not think this means the shopping center is dying, but she says she just wants to know what will fill the empty store fronts.
“We're just wondering what’s going to bring the business back to the south side,” says Wilder.
Jamie Arnold says she is working to do just that.
“The blight did not happen overnight and it will not be fixed overnight, but we are taking the appropriate steps, and we are very optimistic that this area will thrive,” says Arnold.
Arnold is the executive director of a business improvement district along the Eisenhower corridor. The district places an extra five mill property tax on 93 businesses. That funding pays for improvements like landscaping and extra security patrol.
“Any improvements that make the area more aesthetically pleasing, brighter, you know safer is going to encourage customers which is going to encourage more business,” says Arnold.
Wilder says between that and all the other businesses in the area, she thinks the shopping center will be just fine.
“Hope for the best. You know we'll get more businesses in,” says Wilder.
Arnold says they collect more than $300,000 a year from the district improvement district, and it will continue until June of 2021. She says Target will continue to pay the property taxes until they sell the building, and then the new buyer would pay them. She says this should not cause them to lose any funding.