Today’s rant: Abandon downtown!

June 4, 2008 at 8:33 pm 3 comments

From today’s News-Sentinel:

When you drive on our terrible streets or drop your kids off at schools that are in dire need of repair, just think of all that could have been done with the money being wasted on downtown.

But don’t think about how the financing of Harrison Square actually works. From the city’s Web site (PDF):

Q: How will Harrison Square be financed?
A: The initial Harrison Square development will have a development cost of approximately $125 million with a 50/50 private-public sharing of the cost. No general property taxes will be used to finance the project. The majority (78%) of the public dollars for the project will come from funding tools and revenue streams dedicated specifically to downtown development and are geographically restricted. Those tools are known as Community Revitalization Enhancement Districts (CRED) and Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Districts. The remaining 22% of the public dollars would come from unrestricted funds such as CEDIT. The numbers presented are the most accurate available based upon current information. Final numbers depend upon the outcome of project component negotiations.

Again: “No general property taxes will be used to finance the project.”

But I do have to lay the blame for the misunderstanding at the feet of the city. The Fort Wayne mayor’s office did a poor job communicating the complicated financing tangle behind Harrison Square when it was announced. The confusion that still exists shows that the city must do better in explaining these complicated deals so the citizens can agree and disagree intelligently

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Entry filed under: Downtown, Jon Swerens. Tags: , , .

The ruins of Detroit Harrison Square financing: A primer

3 Comments

  • 1. john b. kalb  |  June 5, 2008 at 4:36 pm

    “No general property taxes will be used to finance the project” is absolutely FALSE – The bonds issued by the ” evading- law- via-
    loop-hole ” Fort Wayne Redevelopment Authority have been approved s being backed with Fort Wayne General Property Taxes. In other words, if these marginally responsible developers fail to get the financing that they say is now “difficult to obtain”, the entire financial back-up IS OUR GENERAL PROPERTY TAX LEVY. The false statement is based on all “going as we planned it” – past history in our city DOES NOT MAKE ME FEEL COMFORTABLE with this fact!!!

  • […] honestly want to hear John Kalb’s view on this project: Less than a week after a majority of members expressed serious doubts […]

  • […] honestly want to hear John Kalb’s view on this project: Less than a week after a majority of members expressed serious doubts […]


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