Mayor Richard Riordan has backed off a plan to spend $150,000 in riot recovery funds to spruce up the Downtown garment district, a neighborhood that was not as badly damaged as other areas in the spring of 1992.
The mayor's office reached an agreement Tuesday with Councilwoman Rita Walters to instead obtain the $150,000 for the Downtown Property Owners Assn. from a city program that assists small businesses. The funds will be used to start a special assessment district that will charge business owners a fee and use the funds for neighborhood improvements.
Councilwoman Rita Walters had angrily opposed the use of riots funds for the improvements, noting that neighborhoods devastated by arson and looting are still waiting to be rebuilt.
Assistant Deputy Mayor Kelly Martin had justified the use of riot funds in the neighborhood, saying that businesses there "lost a tremendous amount of business because of people's fear to come down here after the riots."