Greenwood officials set special meeting to discuss project

Greenwood officials have been recruiting a national company to open a location in the city, but they aren’t revealing any details about the company or jobs, citing non-disclosure agreements they were required to sign.

A special Greenwood Redevelopment Commission meeting has been called for May 24 to discuss a taxpayer-funded financial incentive for a national company the city has been recruiting, Greenwood Mayor Mark Myers said.

The name of the company, the type of industry, the dollar amount of the financial incentive and the number and quality of new jobs it will bring has not been revealed.

“A special meeting is atypical,”redevelopment commission president Brent Tilson said. “That adds a level of magnitude to the importance of this.”

The special meeting was necessary due to the urgency of the project, he said.

Several redevelopment commission members said they had been asked to take the rare step of signing non-disclosure agreements before receiving any information. City officials haven’t been asked to sign non-disclosure agreements in at least six years, they said.

While non-disclosure agreements are commonplace in private economic development, this is the first time Tilson said he has been asked to sign one as a member of the redevelopment commission. He has been a member since 2013 of the appointed board that oversees the tax-increment financing districts and spending of those property tax dollars.

Redevelopment commission and city council member Mike Campbell said he had never been asked before now to sign a non-disclosure agreement during his six years on the council.

He’s been invited to a private meeting next week where he would receive information about the project in exchange for signing a non-disclosure form, a step he described as completely appropriate.

While the non-disclosure agreement is a first for him, to be asked to keep development information private until the appropriate time to discuss it is not unusual, Campbell said.

While non-disclosure agreements have not been signed in recent years, two signed about a decade ago may provide some hints as to the scope of the project the redevelopment commission is considering.

Council member Brent Corey said he signed non-disclosure agreements prior to discussions about financial incentives offered to outdoor sports store Cabela’s in 2009 and pharmaceutical company Medco in 2007.

Medco, which eventually selected a location in Whitestown instead, was offered offered an incentive package worth up to $21.2 million to bring 1,300 mostly high-paying professional jobs to the city.

The city council spent $130,000 upfront and offered Cabela’s an $18 million loan for a plan to construct a 125,000-square-foot store in a project that would have included a hotel and indoor water park complex, several restaurants and other retailers. The project was never completed.

When the redevelopment commission meets May 24 to discuss what Tilson described only as an economic development opportunity, details about what financial assistance the city is considering as well as the magnitude of the project may be revealed, but the name of the company may not, he said.

No vote is planned at the May 24 meeting, which is intended only to introduce the proposal. The next redevelopment commission meeting is June 6.

The city council also will be asked to take action regarding the proposal, but Myers declined to say what that action, which could range from a tax break to a rezoning request, would be.

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Jacob Tellers is a reporter at the Daily Journal. He can be reached at jtellers@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2702.