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City-County Council approves north-side TIF district

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A new redevelopment area will be created on the north side, as the Indianapolis City-County Council voted 23-5 Monday night in favor of the North Midtown tax-increment finance district.

The new TIF district stretches from Fall Creek to the White River along College Avenue, encompassing 748 acres of land with an assessed value of $361.7 million.

While some council Democrats have questioned the need for new TIF districts, which capture the growth in property-tax revenue for redevelopment projects, at-large Councilor John Barth argued that North Midtown is different because it will be driven by the needs of neighborhoods, rather than developers. Specific redevelopment projects will be identified by a Midtown Economic Council, which will include representatives from each neighborhood in the TIF district.

Financing for those yet-identified projects will come from the property taxes on Keystone Construction Corp.'s parking garage and retail space in Broad Ripple, which is included in the district. Keystone's project was financed in part with $6.5 million in parking-meter revenue.

The boundaries of the new TIF area include seven neighborhoods along the College Avenue-Monon Trail corridor: Broad Ripple, Butler-Tarkington, Chatard-Forest Hills, Crown Hill, the Indiana State Fairgrounds, Mapleton-Fall Creek and Meridian Kessler.

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  • Yes, 38th Street
    Idyllic, the targeted commercial areas are not just "along 38th street" they are up from it, too. For example, the commercial strip that runs from 38th to 40th along Illinois and the commercial stretch of College Avenue from about 38th Street to 42nd Street. As for converting 38th Street to a 6 lane road with very narrow sidewalks, that suggestion is simply an alternative choice of what you would want to do with the money, it doesn't preclude the use of a TIF to do it. It would cost multi-millions of dollars to widen and rebuild the road, and right now the city would rather invest in the commercial areas and improve the pedestrian infrastructure and the parks (like Tarkington Park). People do live in the area now, and they have historically lived in the area, so I don't think the road in-and-of-itself is an obstacle to revitalization of any of the commercial strips, or for the area immediately along east 38th Street, for that matter.
  • 38th Street
    If the City wanted to revitalize 38th Street, maybe they shouldn't have just rebuilt it as a 6-lane road with narrow sidewalks. People don't want to live, walk, bike, or otherwise spend time outside of a car along such a street. How is creating a TIF going to overcome that?
    • That Is The Idea
      Yes, TIFs are supposed to help increase the tax base due to new economic development in the TIF area. The unfortunate truth though is that in Indianapolis 40% of it's TIFS are entirely dependent upon property taxes or other TIFs.
    • The Targeted Areas Are Not "Rich"
      The TIF is designed specifically to help the troubled areas of Butler-Tarkington, Meridian-Kessler, Mapleton Fall-Creek, etc. It is not designed to help the affluent parts of these neighborhoods. Go to 38th Street and Illinois and the area immediately adjacent and ask if it looks "rich," no it looks like a stereotypical ghetto. In fact most of 38th Street from Crown Hill to the Fairgrounds is rundown and the area is unsafe. It is areas like 38th Street that the TIF is targeted to help, and it is not designed to subsidize fancy boutiques in Broad Ripple. Rather, the idea is that the wealthier parts of these neighborhoods will provide enough of base for the TIF to fund redevelopment of the rundown areas.
    • Why help the rich neighborhoods?
      I probably don't know all the details about how these TIF districts work -- but I always thought they are supposed to help see that development occurs in areas where it might not otherwise happen. Why are already great neighbor hoods like Meridian-Kessler, Butler-Tarkington, Broad Ripple, Chatard-Forest Hills and others able to benefit from this TIF district when there are so many other neighborhoods in Indianapolis left out that REALLY need help?

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