Englewood Town Center Authority awaits funding and now has leaders

Months after Englewood voters approved the creation of an organization that would work to economically boost Englewood’s CityCenter, traditional downtown Broadway, and medical areas, the public is still awaiting clarification as to the provenance of the government entity funding, but some details are highlighted.

In the November 3 election, landowners, residents and business owners in the city’s “downtown” district approved the creation of the Downtown Development Authority, a body that will attempt to attract more economic activity to the neighborhood. But voters rejected some of the questions about taxes and debts that would have funded the organization.

Soon, Englewood City Council may consider granting a $ 150,000 loan to the Downtown Authority to cover its first-year operating expenses, a move likely to come in early summer. according to a statement from Dan Poremba, director of redevelopment at Englewood.

Additionally, voters within the district may see a fundraising question put back on the ballot this year.

The neighborhood – the area that the downtown administration would strive to revitalize – includes the following areas:

• The business development of Englewood CityCenter, approximately from South Santa Fe Drive to South Elati Street.

• The South Broadway neighborhood between Elati and Sherman streets.

• The medical section of the city, between Sherman and Lafayette streets. The district’s north-south length varies, but it extends to Kenyon Avenue in the southwest and Eastman Avenue in the north.

Here’s a look at the progression of Downtown Authority and what remains to be decided in its early days.

Chosen leadership

On April 5, the city council voted to appoint six members of the city center administration board. The members are:

• Blake Calvert, President of CORE Consultants, a civil engineering firm.

• Amy Gallegos, owner of Eye Logic, an eye care office.

• Brad Nixon, owner of Nixon’s Coffee House and Share Good Foods.

• Diane Reinhard, head nurse at Craig Hospital.

• Hugo Weinberger, Chairman of The Situs Group, a real estate investment company.

• Erika Zierke, owner of the Englewood Grand bar.

A member of Englewood City Council was also due to be appointed to the board of directors on April 26, after the Englewood Herald press deadline. Under state law, the city council member votes on city center authority decisions along with other board members, according to the city’s statement.

Changes the authority could make

City officials hope the development authority will help fill vacant storefronts along the downtown Broadway corridor; suing a hotel for business travelers, hospital guests and community members at CityCenter; and add residential density – more residents – to underutilized sites near the Englewood LRT station.

They also hope it will promote the creation of accessible housing and encourage office employers to attract more day workers downtown to support local traders and restaurants.

The development authority could, for example, implement “economic stimulus plans”, market and promote downtown Englewood, strengthen maintenance and safety and create “improvements” in the area, according to an email from the city on December 2.

These could include such things as landscaping, trees, and orientation signs that help visitors locate parking lots and retail businesses, and foster a sense of local identity along streets such as as South Broadway, Englewood Parkway and what locals call Old Hampden Avenue in the medical region. .

Funding still taking shape

In November, voters in the inner city district approved the creation of the inner city authority – through Question A – with 91 “yes” votes to 62 “no” votes.

Since the voters also approved Question B of the ballot, the development authority can collect and spend money to carry out its operations. But because voters rejected Questions C and D, the city was unable to raise property taxes or issue bonds to fund administration operations. To use a bond is to issue a debt to investors that the city would eventually repay with interest.

This year, if the downtown board of directors and city council give the green light, the bond issue could be put back on the ballot for voters in the downtown district. If voters then give the OK, some type of tax revenue collected by the downtown authority could be used for bonds used to fund the agency’s efforts, according to the city’s statement. We do not yet know what the amount requested for the question of the ballot could be.

The possible bond debt would be supported by a tool called “tax increase financing”. It is a term for collecting higher levels of tax revenue boosted by additional economic activity that actions by city center authorities would, in theory, entail. The tax increase method does not involve a new tax or an increase in tax rates.

For example, if a new building is built in the district next year or sales tax revenue increases, the additional tax revenue will go to the development authority to be reinvested in the district.

It is unclear when the cycle of inner city authorities investment and tax revenue gains would begin and when this would result in visible changes to the inner city.

Rising property tax not on the table

The city council does not plan to ask voters again for a property tax increase in November to fund the administration of the city center, according to the city statement.

Poremba’s statement said the potential use of bond financing by downtown authorities would not force the city to ask voters for a property tax increase to fund debt payments.

“DDA bonds are only guaranteed by new tax revenue generated in the district,” the statement said. He added: “This could include sales (tax revenue) generated by opening new businesses or more customers coming from downtown to shop, socialize and run errands, or new properties (tax revenue). created by the construction of new apartments or offices in the downtown district. . “

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