Moline funds studies for 2 more TIF districts


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Originally Posted Online: April 23, 2013, 10:14 pm
Last Updated: April 23, 2013, 10:53 pm
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By Dawn Neuses, dneuses@qconline.com

Moline aldermen gave preliminary approval Tuesday to $54,000 for studies required before it can establish two more tax-increment-finance districts.

Sitting as the committee of the whole, aldermen reviewed two contracts with Peckham, Guyton, Albers & Viets Inc., to conduct the studies, each costing $27,000.

Ray Forsythe, Moline's planning and development director, said Moline has big projects of regional significance moving forward in the 24 months. One is a multi-modal station that will house passenger rail service to Chicago. The other is a 16-acre development next to Western Illinois University Riverfront Campus.

City staff want to explore TIFs for both projects and nearby properties to aid private development and public improvements.

TIF districts are tools municipalities use to attract development to blighted areas. Any increase in property tax assessments from development within the district goes into a special fund for use in attracting additional development, improving infrastructure within the district or repaying some development costs.

The first proposed TIF would be between10th and 14th streets, generally including properties between the railroad tracks and 4th Avenue. It includes the city-owned O'Rourke building that will become the passenger rail station and a proposed extended-stay hotel by The Amin Group.

The second is between 25th and 34th streets, and 4th Avenue and River Drive, excluding the WIU Riverfront Campus. It includes city-owned land on River Drive where Three Corners Development, Inc., wants to create a mixed-use development called Riverbend Commons.

Both proposed districts already are in a TIF that includes most of downtown and expires in 2021. It is $6.6 million in deficit, however, and would not be able to support developer incentives or city-initiated improvements, such as building a parking deck for the multi-modal station, Mr. Forsythe said.

The city is considering issuing general obligation bonds for a parking deck. City administrator Lew Steinbrecher said a 350-space deck could cost $7 million.

TIF increment could be used to pay off bonds, Mr. Forsythe said. He also saidhigher parking fees was considered, noting grants are very competitive and there are none offered specifically for parking.

Before the new TIF districts could be established, the areas must be studied to ensure they are blighted or qualify as a conservation district as defined by the state.The studies could be completed in 60 to 90 days, Mr. Forsythe said Monday.

Moline now has nine TIFs, with a vote scheduled for Tuesday on establishing a 10th for SouthPark Mall postponed until June 18. City staff have said a TIF for SouthPark it would help the property owner redevelop the mall.

Also on Tuesday, Mayor Don Welvaert received a standing ovation and compliments for his work the past eight years.Tuesday was the last time he will preside over a meeting; he did not seek re-election April 9. When the council next meets on May 7, mayor-elect Scott Raes will take the oath of office.

Mayor Welvaert said leaving would be tough because the people he worked with -- the council, staff and community -- were great.

"I am going to miss it; I am," he said.





Ald. Stephanie Acri, At-Large, asked what other options the city has considered to pay for a parking deck.














 



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