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City-County Council votes to expand downtown TIF district

December 5, 2016

The Indianapolis City-County Council on Monday night approved two proposals that will expand the downtown tax-increment-financing district.

Council members voted 24-1 to include in the TIF district the former General Motors stamping plant property and the Market East District.

Proponents said the proposal will rejuvenate redevelopment interest at the 102-acre stamping plant site along West Washington Street.

Two previous attempts to transform the site—one that involved a concert venue and former Mayor Greg Ballard's stalled plan for a new criminal justice center—have failed.

TIF funds could build sidewalks, streets and pedestrian bridges there that could be attractive to developers, they said.

“The bids we got back as a city last time around involved a music venue and other things that were not productive for a neighborhood,” said Republican council member Jeff Miller. “One of the things [government] can do is help prepare an area. Let’s see something come here that is productive for the area.”

In the Market East area, TIF money could be used to demolish two Marion County Jail buildings, the Downtown Heliport and a work-release center known as Liberty Hall. The area has been helped by the construction of the new Cummins Corp. headquarters and apartment buildings including the Artistry development.

Republican Council member Colleen Fanning said including a site in the downtown TIF gives the city and developers “another tool” and a way to stretch precious local road funding and infrastructure dollars.

“I think this is another way to give ourselves the most options possible to move forward in a fiscally responsible way,” Fanning said.

Republican Council member Christine Scales was the sole no vote on the proposals. Scales did not immediately respond to IBJ’s request for comment.

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