Zionsville weighs replacing, renovating Town Hall

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As Zionsville leaders weigh the future of the Town Hall building on Oak Street, officials are moving forward with plans to capture new property taxes from nearby development to fund improvements.

Town Council is expected to consider a measure next month that would establish a 38-acre economic development area stretching northwest from the municipal building to Quail Run Apartments along Ford Road. The Zionsville Redevelopment Commission and Zionsville Plan Commission already have signed off on the plan.

The decidedly unsexy process is the first step in creating a so-called tax-increment financing district. If that happens, the town could use revenue from development in the area to pay for capital projects and necessary infrastructure.

Replacing the 45-year-old church Zionsville has used as Town Hall since 2003 is expected to cost about $7.5 million, according to estimates submitted with the Plan Commission resolution. An extended renovation could cost $3 million.

All told, the town could spend $15 million to $20 million in the economic development area, including roads, sewers and sidewalks.

Town Council President Steve Mundy said the existing Town Hall needs extensive repairs given its age, and the warren-like building layout leaves much to be desired. Some spaces—like the former sanctuary where the council meets—are larger than needed, he said, and others are all but unusable.

“It needs a lot of changes to make it a more useful building,” he said.

The town also could sell some of its nearly 7 acres of property at 1100 W. Oak Street to a private developer, Mundy said, adding to the tax rolls and its bank account.

“That’s more than we need for Town Hall and parking,” he said.

The proposed economic development area is comprised of 12 parcels of land. The Starbucks just west of Town Hall is within its boundaries, but the adjacent Boone Village shopping center is not.

Including the Quail Run apartments was intentional, Mundy said, since new owners Buckingham Cos. and Alex. Brown Realty Inc. are in the process of renovating and expanding the complex.

If a TIF district is created there before Boone County property assessments are finalized on March 1, the revenue from any new assessed value within the area would flow to the town for the life of the district—usually 20-plus years.

Zionsville has 22 employees working in its current 27,700-square-foot Town Hall, said Town Manager Ed Mitro. The $7.5 million estimate for a new building is based on an assumption that the facility would be about 38,450 square feet.

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