Tammy Mutasa, Garland Journalist
The city says it was worth it to invest millions of dollars of tax-break incentives to develop the Bass Pro Shops near Lake Ray Hubbard.
The city of Garland said a gamble with taxpayer dollars is reaping profits.
The city invested $20 million in tax break incentives after a bond election to develop the second Bass Pro Shops location in the Metroplex. The tax breaks are in place for 20 years.
"We look for this development to spur the future development all the way down I-30," Mayor Pro Tem Preston Edwards said.
The shopping area is located in front of Lake Ray Hubbard on Interstate 30, drawing shoppers from Garland, Mesquite, Rockwall and surrounding areas.
"The alternative for us is to go to Grapevine," Mesquite resident Daniel Smokoska said. "And that's kind of a far drive --tollway, usually, so this is good for us. We just hop on the highway. Even when we first heard it was being built, we were getting excited for the opportunity."
The President George Bush Turnpike is expected to be open to drivers next month. The city hopes it will be another incentive to get traffic to the Bass Pro Shops area.
Smaller businesses such as the Fisherman's Supply shop along I-30 said it is tough competing with a giant such as Bass Pro Shops, so they have to focus on selling different things.
"Live bait is what we benefit from having here that they don't have," Brett Kilmer said. "Pricewise, it's hard to compete with them because of the volume."
But Fisherman's Supply also benefits from Bass Pro Shops' traffic.
"The tax break has been worth it, because it got them here, it got them to Lake Ray Hubbard, and that's bringing business in to us, ultimately," Kilmer said.
The city said the Bass Pro Shops developer has plans to build a hotel and marina near the shops.