During the next 25 years, Greenwood wants to make $104 million in improvements in the area around the city’s newest interstate exit, including new and wider roads, sewer extensions and better drainage.
With the new interchange, the southeast side of Greenwood has huge potential for growth. But in order to bring retail shops, restaurants and office buildings to the Worthsville Road area, the infrastructure projects are necessary, city officials said.
In order to pay for those improvements, the city wants to create Greenwood’s seventh tax-increment financing, or TIF, district to capture property taxes from new development around the interchange. The money collected there in the next several years would go toward those improvements, and not to other local governments, such as schools and libraries. The proposal received an initial approval this week, and is set to go before the city council for the first of three meetings next week.
“We have a blank canvas. Let’s go put the infrastructure in, then we can start development. It’s really important for people to understand the $104 million is the potential investment. The reality is, it’s not like those dollars are there today and we aren’t spending them elsewhere. Those dollars will be generated from this area,” Greenwood Redevelopment Commission president Brent Tilson said.
The proposed projects range in cost from $1 million to $27 million and would be done over the next several years, as money is collected from new development around the interchange, officials said. That plan is similar to how the city has used other TIF districts, including on Greenwood’s eastside, where officials point to improvements on Emerson Avenue for helping attract new development to that area.
In the new TIF district, a regional stormwater project is the most expensive of more than 15 projects that officials said is needed. The regional stormwater project would cover about 135 acres and cost the city about $27 million, according to the proposal.
If the city doesn’t invest in a regional stormwater, or drainage, project, developers would have to complete the improvements as growth occurs. But that would mean isolated improvements over a longer period of time. With the new TIF district, the city can take a regional approach and upgrade the drainage system in the entire area, which means developers will have to do less and could be an incentive to locate near the new interchange, Tilson said.
Road projects make up the majority of the infrastructure projects east of the interchange. That work is needed to create better traffic flow with the anticipated development and better connectivity to Fairland Road, east of I-65, which leads motorists to the Interstate 74 interchange in Shelby County.
More than $30 million is planned to be spent on reconstructing roads east of the Worthsville Road interchange. Collins and Griffith roads are two of about 10 roads, and projects to reconstruct and widen those roads are estimated to cost a combined $27 million. Rebuilding those surrounding county roads is important for growth in the area because developers are more likely to locate near the interchange if roads are already in place to handle traffic, officials said.
“This is a significant decision for the next 25 years,” Tilson said. “We have I-65 and three interchanges. Very few communities have those assets. You have to look at the long-term view, we have all this development that could happen around the Worthsville interchange, but we have to make an investment in that area in order for that to occur.”
A law firm is currently working on a study to estimate the city’s return in tax dollars on its $104 million investment in infrastructure, Tilson said. Officials believe the new TIF district will bring in about three times the amount invested, or close to $300 million, just like the eastside TIF has done in the time since it was implemented, Tilson said.
The current area around the Worthsville interchange is largely agricultural, so the city does not collect taxes on the property, Greenwood planning director Bill Peeples said. When the city annexed the land near the interchange, it made that land exempt from property taxes during a 10-year period, Peeples said. But changes to state law now mandate a permanent tax exemption on farm land until a change in land use, or zoning, Peeples said.
The new TIF would set aside property taxes from new development mainly between Sheek Road to east of Collins Road. That money could then be spent on projects between Allen and Worthsville roads, and between Sheek and Griffith roads, under the city’s proposal for the new TIF district.
City officials also want to locate the Greenwood Fire Department’s fifth station in the Worthsville Road interchange area, which is estimated to cost about $4 million to buy the land and build the station, according to the proposal.
The city also estimates spending about $2.5 million on trails and another $4 million on land for parks in the area, according to the proposal. Both projects are a part of the city’s continued effort to connect trails and parks around Greenwood, officials said.
The stormwater and sewer improvements are the most needed, Peeples said. The idea is to have the stormwater and sewer systems ready so developers don’t have to spend their money on those projects.
Development took about 10 years to begin around the County Line Road interchange, which was due to proactive steps the city took to widen Emerson Avenue, in preparation for more traffic, officials said.
If the city doesn’t make the same investment in Worthsville Road area infrastructure, development will stall and growth will take much longer than it did at the County Line Road interchange, Peeples said.
The construction of the new interchange was the city’s first investment in the area, when the redevelopment commission spent about $10 million toward the project, city attorney Krista Taggart said. The city then spent another $20 million on road improvements on Worthsville Road, Taggart said.
If the investment into the area isn’t made, the city will need to lower its expectations of what will develop there, Peeples said. Office spaces and retail growth will take longer to come, and will more than likely develop south of the interchange instead, Peeples said.
“We absolutely have to have development out there now that the Worthsville interchange is built,” Tilson said.
Now, the proposal will go to the Greenwood Plan Commission, where a recommendation will be passed onto the city council of whether or not the new economic development area and TIF district should be created. The proposal then needs approval from the city council and the redevelopment commission.
Projects planned for Greenwood’s proposed economic development area, which will create the city’s seventh tax-increment financing, or TIF, district. Here are the city’s estimated costs for projects in the surrounding area.
- Allen Road resurfacing and widening: $4.1 million
- Pushville Road extension: $5.8 million
- Clark School Road reconstruction: $1.6 million
- Worthsville Road reconstruction, east of the interchange: $2.5 million
- Graham Road reconstruction, between Precedent South business center and Worthsville Road: $2.6 million
- Collins Road improvements: $10.8 million
- Griffith Road improvements: $17 million
- Billingsly Road improvements: $6.5 million
- Connector road between Graham and Collins roads: $3.1 million
- Five Points Road improvements: $5 million
- Regional stormwater drainage and detention improvements: $27 million
- Sanitary sewer improvements: $6.8 million
- Construction of trails, bicycle paths: $2.5 million
- Purchase of land and development of parks: $4 million
- Miscellaneous improvements to public recreation facilities: $1 million
- Purchase of land and construction of southeast fire station: $4 million
TOTAL: $104 million
SOURCE: Proposal for new TIF district
The proposed new TIF district will be discussed at the following meetings:
Greenwood Plan Commission
Monday, 7 p.m., city center, 300 S. Madison Ave, Greenwood. The plan commission will consider a recommendation to the city council either in favor or against the addition of the city’s seventh TIF district.
Greenwood City Council
Monday, March 21, 7 p.m., city center. The city council will have the proposal introduced with the plan commission’s recommendation.
Greenwood City Council
Monday, April 4, 7 p.m., city center. The city council will make the first of two votes on the proposal
Greenwood City Council
Monday, April 18, 7 p.m., city center. The city council will make the final vote on the proposal after a public hearing.
Greenwood Redevelopment Commission
Tuesday, May 10, 4:30 p.m., city center. The redevelopment commission will consider final approval of the proposal after a public hearing.