The State Route 161 Task Force has begun to collect signatures to establish a special improvement district along state Route 161's business district and plans a public push to earn more.

The State Route 161 Task Force has begun to collect signatures to establish a special improvement district along state Route 161's business district and plans a public push to earn more.

The task force, which collects money for grass mowing and organizes cleanups along the road, has been working for the past few years to establish a special improvement district, or SID, which would tax property owners to raise money for beautification or other services.

To establish a SID, signatures would be needed from approximately 60 percent of the 145 property owners in the district, which would run from Sinclair Road to Ponderosa Drive.

Ten property owners representing 11 properties have signed, said Dave Cooper, chairman of the 161 Task Force and president of the Northland Area Business Association.

"We are making progress," Cooper said. "Obviously, in this economy, it's not as easy as it would have been."

The good news for those looking to establish a SID, Cooper said, is that few property owners have said they will not sign a petition. The majority of property owners remain undecided, he said.

That has prompted the planning of a public meeting for property owners along 161. A meeting is planned to take place in July, but the date has not been set.

At that meeting, a SID organizer would present the plan to the public and report on the status of the SID's progress.

"It's time to do a public update as opposed to going door to door," Cooper said.

The area identified in establishing a SID must represent a contiguous group of properties, Cooper said.

SID Specialist LLC, hired by the Northland Alliance to work on establishing the SID, has said about 40 signatures would be needed to establish a strong SID, but a smaller SID could be established with as few as 20 signatures, Cooper said.

While SID efforts move forward behind the scenes, the State Route 161 Task Force continues to work on beautifying the business corridor, Cooper said.

So far this spring, the task force has paid to have the medians along the road treated for weeds and has arranged to have the grass cut.

The task force also has organized several volunteer cleanups of the roadway. Another is scheduled for 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, with volunteers being asked to meet behind Jiffy Lube, 1800 E. Dublin-Granville Road.