‘A city on the move’

By capturing new tax dollars from development around a new Greenwood Interstate 65 interchange, the city can pay for infrastructure improvements that will help the area develop more.

That’s why Greenwood Mayor Mark Myers hopes city council members will approve adding another tax-increment finance, or TIF, district along Worthsville Road, near I-65, which officials have long envisioned as a new entrance into the city.

As part of his fifth State of the City speech, Myers touted the work the city had done in recent years using money from the city’s TIF districts, which set aside property tax dollars from new development in certain areas for infrastructure and economic development projects. Since the eastside TIF district was formed around industrial properties such as Nestle Waters and Ulta Beauty, it has created more than $300 million in assessed value and hundreds of jobs, Myers said.

With a new TIF district along Worthsville Road, the city can next focus on growing that area, Myers said.

Myers also wants to focus on improving infrastructure, such as roads and sewers, on the west side of the city, where a new TIF district was created along State Road 135 earlier this year. That includes projects to improve Honey Creek, Stones Crossing, Cutsinger and Smokey Row roads and add new sewer infrastructure to allow for more development, Myers said.

And the city will be embarking on several other projects, including further work on Worthsville Road, more roundabouts, new drainage projects, such as a drainage ditch by Greenwood Park Mall and cleaning out pipes, spending $2.5 million on sewer pipe work, renovating the community center and upgrading downtown facades.

In his second term in office, Myers wants to focus on four key areas: improving public safety, enhancing quality of life, upgrading infrastructure and economic development.

“Greenwood is a city on the move. Greenwood can compete. Greenwood must compete,” Myers said. “Those four areas give Greenwood a competitive advantage that honors our past and assures a better future. What we do in these four areas determines whether we can build a strong identity and sense of community or lose out to other cities pursuing the same goals.”

The mayor wants to continue pursuing funding, such as a local food and beverage tax, to pay for more police officers and firefighters. In the past, the city has been able to buy new fire trucks and police cars. And this year, the police and fire department are each adding three full-time employees, but he wants to continue adding more, he said.

“I promise to you that the city will pursue every reasonable avenue to secure funding sources for new public safety staff,” Myers said.

Infrastructure is also a key concern the city will continue to focus on after multiple projects have been completed in recent years, Myers said.

Now he wants to find ways to connect city parks so parents can easily walk from the splash pad to nearby parks, for example. He wants to add more trails and also buy land so new parks can be added in the future, Myers said.

The city also is putting together a plan to be able to spend $2.5 million a year on work to reline and seal sewer pipes and will continue work to clean out stormwater drains in order to improve drainage citywide, he said.

And residents should expect to see additional roadwork, including new roundabouts, he said.

“City engineering is pursuing roundabout solutions to some of our most troublesome intersections,” Myers said. “We have aggressively maintained and upgraded our roads over the last four years, and I plan to continue this pace going forward.”

At the same time that work has been done, the city has been able to build up a cash reserve and have a balanced budget, Myers said.

“Pride and progress. There’s a lot to be proud of. A lot of progress has been made, and there’s more to be done,” Myers said.

Corey Elliot is a reporter at the Daily Journal. He can be reached at celliot@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2719.