Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Gateway Revival Vote Nears

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Gateway Revival Vote Nears

Article excerpt

TALLAHASSEE -- State lawmakers are expected to vote next week

on a plan that would offer $500,000 in tax credits to help

attract businesses to the Gateway Shopping Center on

Jacksonville's Northside.

The plan appeared in jeopardy Thursday after House members

rejected tacking it onto another bill. But House Majority Leader

Jim King, R-Jacksonville, said yesterday the House will

reconsider the issue next week.

If approved, the plan could boost efforts to revitalize

Gateway, which lost all its major tenants in recent years. John

Lewis, one of the center's owners, said the tax credits could

help attract a movie theater complex that would be a drawing

card.

"It [a theater complex] would totally and completely solidify

Gateway Shopping Center," he said.

Lewis, a former state legislator, is proposing the tax credits

as an amendment to House and Senate bills aimed at helping

welfare recipients find jobs. The amendment, which does not

mention Gateway by name, calls for a pilot program that would

set aside $500,000 in tax credits for one site in Florida.

The criteria for the program -- including a quick July 1

application deadline -- are designed to make sure Gateway is

chosen as the site.

"It's pretty much crafted to us," Lewis said.

House members rejected adding the amendment to a welfare bill

Thursday at the urging of the bill's sponsor, Rep. Carl

Littlefield, R-Dade City. King said Littlefield didn't

understand what the amendment would do.

The Senate added the amendment Thursday to a welfare bill

sponsored by Sen. Bill Bankhead, R-Ponte Vedra Beach. But Senate

Ways and Means Chairman Don Sullivan, R-Seminole, put the bill on

hold, so he could study the Gateway proposal.

Some senators raised questions about whether the amendment,

proposed by Sen. …

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