ESCONDIDO, CA-The city’s Downtown has continued to grow at a slow but steady pace, with 89 new business licenses issued for the area’s downtown business improvement district this year.

Last year saw the issuance of 67 licenses, according to the Downtown Business Association, which oversees area commerce. The district borders Centre City Parkway to the west, Palomar Medical Center to the east, Washington Avenue to the north and Sixth Avenue to the south.

Four publications this year mentioned Escondido as one of the best places in the United States to retire, giving the area a boost. Activities such as farmers markets and car rallies have further beefed up visitors and businesses.

The association assesses business annual dues ranging from $100 to $900, based on the size and type of business. There are licenses for about 800 businesses within the downtown district, of which just under 600 pay assessment fees. The association collected about $130,000 in assessments this year.

Yesterday, council members approved a request by the city’s Economic Development Office staff to continue the assessment at the same rates. The vote was 4-0, with Councilman Ed Gallo absent.

Parking and housing are the two most pressing issues downtown, association officials agreed.

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