When a new Kroger Marketplace store opens in Franklin at the end of this year, the city already will be setting aside the new tax dollars for sidewalks, drainage and road improvements along U.S. 31.
And when a new Meijer store opens in 2017, that money will also go toward the more than $10 million in projects the city hopes to do in the next 25 years to improve infrastructure and promote economic development in the area.
A new tax-increment financing, or TIF, district along U.S 31 was approved by the city council this week, and now needs one more approval from the Franklin Redevelopment Commission before it would begin collecting property taxes from new businesses there.
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For now, the city has its eyes on the two new grocery stores planned to open in the next two years, but if new shops or businesses are built on empty land along the highway, property taxes collected from those would be set aside, too.
City officials have discussed creating the tax-increment financing, or TIF, district along the highway, since late last year. The hope would be to capture money from new development to build sidewalks for residents to walk to restaurants, grocery stores and businesses along U.S. 31. City officials have long been discussing the need for sidewalks and trails since pedestrians are already walking along the highway to get to businesses and schools, raising concerns about their safety.
By setting aside that money for new projects, the new taxes collected in the TIF district would not go to other local governments, such as Franklin schools, Johnson County Public Library and the county government.
In the future, if new development comes to the vacant land off of U.S. 31, that money will also go into the TIF district.
Money collected through the TIF district could be used along U.S. 31, from Christian Boulevard to just south of the Jefferson Street intersection. The total cost of the projects is estimated between $10 million and $20 million, according to the resolution.
City officials want to upgrade the water and sewer systems around the U.S. 31 area, including improvements to in the area included in city’s 2015 stormwater master plan.
The city also wants to get started on pedestrian crossings and other projects, such as extending trails, included in a 2014 Safe Routes to School list.
The city council approved the new TIF district unanimously Monday night, and now the redevelopment commission has to vote on the measure one last time before it can be approved, said Mayor Joe McGuinness.
A public hearing and final vote is scheduled for the April redevelopment commission meeting. Tax impact statements and a notice of the public hearing will be sent to all 20 property owners that will be included in the TIF district, according to city documents.