Pharos-Tribune

Local News

November 25, 2013

Downtown Logansport streetscape projects get yellow light

Redevelopment commission says funds needed for future economic development.

(Continued)

McCord said the decision maintains a negative precedent that started when the current commission backed out of an evolving agreement started by the commission under the city’s previous administration.

The previous commission had been working with Little Turtle Waterway on a plan to develop public restrooms on the former Salvation Army building property, which the city purchased almost one year ago.

Before the deal regarding the restrooms could be finalized, commission members resigned over their disagreement with Logansport Mayor Ted Franklin’s and City Council’s insistence on using tax increment financing funds to lure a movie theater to town, which opened last month. The current commission has shown no signs of continuing the public restrooms initiative with Little Turtle Waterway and the former Salvation Army building remains in a holding pattern.

McCord added the commission’s and city council’s recent approval of consolidating the city’s tax increment financing, or TIF, districts would make it even more difficult to see the streetscape projects through.

Those who supported the consolidation said combining all of the districts will increase flexibility by allowing all of the funds from all of the districts to be used throughout.

McCord contested this at the meeting, saying it will instead force each area to compete for the same pot of money and that it would have been more suitable to have left each district to its own funds.

Companies will likely be more drawn to the city’s newer east side, McCord said, resulting in more TIF dollars going there and leaving older districts like downtown little chance for improvement.

“He’s going to have to fight for downtown sidewalks,” McCord said, referring to Hartman.

Bishop and other commission members disputed this, referring to the city’s plans to develop senior housing downtown that ended up not coming to fruition after merchants rallied against it.

The TIF district consolidation has yet to be finalized, as it was made possible through the city’s recent annexation of two territories south of the city. Landowners formally remonstrated against the annexation and a lawsuit is pending in Cass County Superior Court II.

Mitchell Kirk is a staff reporter at the Pharos-Tribune. He can be reached at 574-732-5130 or mitchell.kirk@pharostribune.com. Follow him: @PharosMAK

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