Seminole County may help business owners move into vacant US 17-92 storefronts

CASSELBERRY, Fla. - If you need a car wash, you're hungry for a sub, or you need to get your guitar tuned, you can go to the Periwinkle Plaza in Fern Park.

However that's all the plaza has to offer-- a dozen stores there are vacant.

Jon Alcorn is the assistant manager at Bill's Car Wash and Detailing Center and he says something needs to be done to bring new businesses to U.S. Highway 17-92.

"When you propose that you're going to try and build things back up and now you're putting it on hold, it's like false hope," he said.

Alcorn says businesses have been fleeing this section of 17-92 ever since the a flyover was proposed.

The county is now considering giving some business owners money to put toward rent if they move into the empty storefronts along 17-92, but on Monday, the commissioners decided to put that program on hold.

"I just don't want to take tax dollars to subsidize the one who wants to start up, and not be able to help the one who is already there and has been paying taxes and struggling," said Commissioner Carlton D. Henley.

Commissioners say they want more data, like vacancy rates in the area, before moving forward with the program, which would give eligible business owners up to $400 a month to help reduce vacancy rates.

"The more there's no business here, the harder it is --there's no foot traffic- it's hard to keep in business," Cherry Schnack, owner of Gerry's Sandwich Factory.

A county spokesperson tells Local 6 commissioners will most likely discuss the program again some time in September.

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