Follow the bouncing TIF ball | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Follow the bouncing TIF ball

Posted By on Wed, Jul 22, 2009 at 9:08 AM

Scott Miller of Argenta News once again refuses to just move along, as traffic cop Pat Hays undoubtedly would wish, at another NLR governmental car wreck.

His subject today is the Rockwater Traditional Neighborhood Development. It was a nice idea for a mixed-use, pedestrian friendly, old-fashioned neighborhood in blighted territory along the river in the Baring Cross neighborhood. The economy, interest rates, etc., have worked against the project. Developers now are parceling off some of the land for a conventional apartment complex. It's not exactly what was envisioned. The City Council is soon to discuss that departure.

But Miller notes that nobody has talked about removing the apartment complex from the Tax Increment Finance District that was created to channel school taxes on new development in the area away from schools and into that development itself. Miller says he's been assured taxes on the new apartments won't pay for district infrastructure. But for what purposes will the dollars that should be going to the schools accrue? How about removing the apartments from the TIF district as part of the change in development plans? Seems like a fair issue to address at the Council meeting, commodore.

UPDATE: A further observation on the changing Rockwater plan from a local observer:

An added frustration is that the proposed complex is gated, thus blocking the 3rd street artery the city-financed roundabout was to lead to. Truly the roundabout to nowhere... Now traffic will be redirected North towards 8th, 9th or 10th street depending on new plans, and River Road will become more traveled, increasing the danger for cyclists. Previous discussions were allowing for a partial closure of River Road to protect cyclists coming off the trail before rejoining it by the Baring Cross bridge, with the 3rd street connector following through the TND property to River Road to allow thru access.This will make it even harder to revitalize Baring Cross and my guess is we'll wind up with 3 HUD financed apartment complexes on the property. The developers convinced the school board to back the TIF because it would bring children to the district and raise money for it from property taxes. This seems the antithesis.
Makes it easier for me to focus on East Argenta, though.



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