City Plan Commission hears reasons for urban renewal plan for Railport Industrial Area

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The Clinton Plan Commission has supported and recommended approval of an urban renewal plan for the Lincolnway Railpark.

The city council at their last meeting raised some concerns about the cost of the potential projects in the plan.

At the Plan Commission meeting Wednesday City Administrator Jessica Kinser explained that a couple of years ago the laws changed and urban renewal plans must include projects, whether those are ever funded or not.  She said the city has been amending and updating existing plans to meet the new law.

Kinser told the Plan Commission the updated plan for the Railport Industrial area would allow for tax increment financing to aid new business development.  She admitted the cost of the potential projects is large, but there is no commitment to spend that money by adopting the plan.  She said she understands there are some “scary numbers in there that could make you hesitant to approve the plan, especially the $53-million.”  But, she also stressed there is no commitment to spend the money and all projects would come back to the council.  Kinser called the plan proactive instead of reactive.

Plan Commission member Bob Soesbe commented that the commission’s role is to determine if it is good for the community, but not the budget impacts.

Kinser said tax increment financing is part of the agreement for the Rail One business to locate in the rail port industrial park hinges and the plan requires approval for that to be approved.  Without that approval there could be some ‘hurt feelings’ from the new business.  The approval also is needed to aid in the property purchases the city is committed for at the industrial area.

The City Council has a public hearing on the urban renewal plan scheduled for the February 11th meeting.

Kinser said there will be a general overview of urban renewal plans and development under the new rules at the council meeting next week.