Redevelopment authority holds initial meeting

January 13th, 2016

News Coverage:

January 13, 2016 1:03 AM

Redevelopment authority holds initial meeting

First project will be along Diebold Road

Rosa Salter Rodriguez | The Journal Gazette

Allen County is starting the new year with a new governmental body.

The first meeting of the new Allen County Redevelopment Authority took place Tuesday afternoon with the approval of by-laws and a $1.9 million loan agreement on its first project, a road improvement plan for Diebold Road.

G. William Fishering, attorney for the county redevelopment commission, said the unique nature of the project propelled the new authority.

The west side of Diebold road is in Fort Wayne and the east side is in an unincorporated portion of Allen County, he said. The county and city are cooperating on the project, Fishering said, but having the independent authority will ensure agreements about the county capturing taxes to pay for improvements will be perpetuated in case the city should annex the area.

Fishering said he did not know of any move by the city toward annexation. He added the authority could be called on in financing arrangements for other redevelopment commission projects, although “not in the short run.”

The Diebold Road project will upgrade a chip-and-seal road surface from near Berger Automotive north to Dupont Road. A roundabout will be built near the entrance to Carmike cinema as part of the plan.

The improved road will serve a new tax increment financing, or TIF district, Dupont Corner, on the southeast corner of Diebold and Dupont roads.

A credit union has already been built on the site, and four outlots are under sales contracts contingent on securing an anchor store, developer Don Steininger said Tuesday.

A TIF district is an economic development incentive used to entice businesses to move to an area. Property tax revenue generated within a TIF district can be captured and used for improvements within that district.

Members of the authority are all members of the redevelopment commission. They are commission President Richard E. Beck Jr., Steve Bercot and Kurt Gutman. They were elected authority president, vice president and secretary, respectively.

Although the authority Tuesday adopted bylaws that say members can be reimbursed for expenses and meeting time, Fishering said that provision was included only because the practice is allowed under state law.

But, he said, compensation would not be the practice of the authority, whose members will serve as volunteers.