Letters: Willows plan raises questions

IBJ reported details of a massive, high-density development at the Willow Event Center property in Broad Ripple [“Developers planning $61M residential project for Willows property,” IBJ.com, April 5]. The ramifications of this development have the potential to become an inflection point for Broad Ripple Village—balancing thoughtful development with neighborhood integrity and stability.

The nearly 250-unit complex with over 300 parking spaces is more than double the size of any current apartment complex in Broad Ripple (and yet the property is classified by the city as “neighborhood suburban”). The proposed density doubles what is recommended by the city’s comprehensive plan. The development will add hundreds of cars and pedestrians, while creating a serious traffic hazard adjacent to a dangerous blind curve on Westfield Boulevard.

Over the last five years, Broad Ripple has experienced unprecedented apartment growth, with no less than four major developments and more on the way, which threaten its delicate balance to remain one of our city’s most livable neighborhoods.

Unfortunately, the city administration has remained on the sidelines in apparent indifference to these concerns. Similar indifference occurred earlier this year when another large development on 96th and Meridian streets was approved despite similar neighborhood opposition. City-[County] Councilor Keith Potts, who represents the citizens impacted by both projects, has been less of neighborhood advocate or even bystander and more of a cheerleader for both developments.

Finally, the developers planned use of tax-increment-financing dollars for the project, which for 25 years would divert about 80% of the real property tax generated by the improvements to the site toward paying off bonds on the project. This would divert funds from schools, libraries, and more. The unusual use of TIF funds, which is usually used to attract new economic development and job creation, should concern all taxpayers in our city.

–Edward Sagebiel

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