S'ville to use TIF funds to pay for community center

2013-05-08T22:15:00Z S'ville to use TIF funds to pay for community centerChas Reilly chas.reilly@nwi.com nwitimes.com
May 08, 2013 10:15 pm  • 

SCHERERVILLE | The town has determined its permanent funding source for the community center in Scherwood Park as construction of the facility nears completion.

Before construction started in August, the Town Council authorized a loan from the Kennedy Avenue tax increment financing district to be used to temporarily fund the work.

A portion of the project, which has cost about $2.3 million, has been funded with a $480,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Two resolutions were approved Wednesday with 3-2 votes to terminate the temporary loan and use the TIF district funds as the permanent funding source for the approximately $1.8 million Schererville is responsible for the project.

Councilmen Jerry Tippy and Kevin Connelly voted against both resolutions.

Issuing a park bond was once an option to fund the center.

Councilman Tom Schmitt said using TIF funds was important for Schererville residents because a park bond would have resulted in an increase in property taxes.

Tippy said he wouldn't have voted to raise taxes, but he thinks using TIF funds isn't proper.

He said the town approves a capital improvement plan every year to spend TIF dollars, and the community center wasn't included in the last plan the council approved.

Tippy thinks the council should have made a permanent financing decision before the project started.

He also is concerned using the TIF funds could impact other projects that are designated to be financed through the TIF district.

Clerk-Treasurer Janice Malinowski said she doesn't anticipate the action taken Wednesday will prevent those projects from advancing.

Councilman Mike Troxell said residents indicated through a survey that they wanted a community center in town.

"It's a good thing for our town," Schmitt said.

He said a grand opening for the facility could take place in coming weeks.

"It's going to be a part of Schererville forever," Schmitt said.

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