Tax Increment Financing helps Munster move forward

2012-09-21T00:00:00Z Tax Increment Financing helps Munster move forwardBy Tom DeGiulio Times Columnist nwitimes.com
September 21, 2012 12:00 am  • 

The Town of Munster’s Tax Increment Financing District was established by the Town Council in 2006 and first-year revenues were $600,000 in 2007.

This year we anticipate receiving $5.2 million generated from the increase in Assessed Value of the property located in the Economic Development Area. The underlying value remains in the overall Assessed Value of the town.

The Town Council established the EDA to include everything on Calumet Avenue north to south; Ridge Road from Columbia Avenue west to the state line, and all of East and West 45th Street.

Revenues are restricted to uses that improve and/or benefit the EDA and areas adjacent to it. Although the uses are restricted to certain areas of the community, all of us benefit from the many projects that have been completed.

TIF revenues have paid for many important projects, including:

  • resurfacing of Ridge Road, Columbia Ave, Calumet Ave., East and West 45th Street and now, the reconstruction of Fran Lin Boulevard.
  • four-year redevelopment of Community Park, with the first phase nearing conclusion and a smaller second phase starting this fall. This project has been temporarily slowed due to other projects. Unfortunately, Little League lost its Fall Ball season due to the delay.
  • Methane Gas to Energy Project funded by TIF and a matching $ 2.9 million from the Department of Energy will go on line in October. This investment will allow the town to begin generating electricity into the NIPSCO grid and receive $.106/ kwh,increasing each year under NIPSCO’s tariffs. Revenue will pay for operating expenses and depreciation of the equipment, and defray electrical operating expenses for town parks and  street lights.
  • joint town and School City of Munster project as part of the schools’ One to One computer initiative for grades 5-12. The town contributed $500,000 towards shared infrastructure to provide wireless and Internet connectivity.

One of the major responsibilities of the Munster Redevelopment Commission is to attract new business and foster redevelopment of established areas of town.

The first two efforts include the North Calumet corridor and the 72-acre Lake Business Center property.

Calumet Avenue is taking on a new look with the opening of the Munster Shops. Final exterior improvements are being completed and stores in the south building will open very soon.

Lake Business Center owners, with the assistance of a $16 million Economic Development Loan, have torn down unused warehouse space, are remodeling the façade of the building and renovating the interior of manufacturing and office space.

A new, 100-room hotel will soon be constructed, operated by the same company that operates the adjacent Hampton Inn. Several restaurants will be built. We are actively talking with corporate groups and several manufacturers.

Members of the Town Council act as the Redevelopment Commission. They are committed to carrying out the long term plans established in the 2010 Comprehensive Plan. TIF is but one method to reach this goal.

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