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Richmond aims to spend development dollars on public safety

The likeness of Benjamin Franklin shown from $100 bills. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

RICHMOND, Ind. (WESTERN WAYNE NEWS) — The Richmond Redevelopment Commission has embarked on the process to permit public safety expenditures from tax dollars collected in special economic development districts.

That process required Richmond Advisory Plan Commission approval of a resolution adding public safety expenditures, both capital and operational, to its Tax Increment Finance district development plan, which is the TIF district spending guide based on the city’s Richmond Rising comprehensive plan. Plan commission members unanimously approved the resolution.

Richmond Common Council also must approve the addition before it returns to the Redevelopment Commission for a public hearing, said Beth Fields, the city’s director of strategic initiatives.

The city has four TIF districts, which last 25 years: Johns Manville that expires in October 2036, downtown and Midwest Industrial Park that ends in January 2040, Heartland for the Blue Buffalo facility that concludes in May 2041 and a new district for the Sixth and Main apartment project that lasts until January 2049.

The base assessed value is locked on the day the TIF district is created, then the Redevelopment Commission receives tax money on the assessment increases throughout the district’s 25 years.

“It’s to finance incentives and infrastructure that’s needed to induce private investment,” Fields said. “So we want to encourage that orderly economic growth within our targeted areas, and we also want to redevelop those blighted areas that we may have in our community.”

A state law took effect July 1, 2023, that permits inclusion of police and fire expenditures in TIF district spending. Fields said expenditures must directly serve or benefit the TIF district from which the money was collected.

Alley vacated

The plan commission unanimously recommended Common Council approve vacation of the alley known as the South Service Road behind the former Elder-Beerman building.

Fields said the alley, building and parking lot parcels will merge into a single parcel for the Sixth and Main project. Flaherty & Collins Properties in Indianapolis is developing a $44 million apartment complex with 150 market-rate units.

Schematic designs by American Structurepoint are expected to be completed by September with construction beginning in 2025, Fields said.

During its June 17 meeting, Common Council referred the vacation ordinance for plan commission consideration.