The Riverbend Urban Renewal District will get lights, sidewalks, curbs and storm drains in an attempt to attract businesses to Post Falls.
At Tuesday’s meeting, the City Council approved the Urban Renewal Agency’s plans for the area from Interstate 90 south to the Spokane River and from Pleasant View Road to just west of the Jacklin Seed Co.
The University of Idaho’s plan to locate a branch campus in the urban renewal district is part of the impetus behind the improvements, said council member Karen Streeter, chairwoman of the Urban Renewal Agency.
“It was the feeling of the Urban Renewal Agency that this would be beneficial to the whole community,” she said.
“Everyone wants a high-tech industry,” explained Jerry Basler, urban planner. “Of course, one of the things companies (thinking of locating in Post Falls) look for is what kind of educational resources there are.”
The Urban Renewal Agency has plans to improve Lochsa Road from Pleasant View to the south part of Clearwater Loop, St. Joe Avenue from Clearwater Loop west to Lochsa, Moyie Street from Selway Avenue to Lochsa and the freeway underpasses and on- and off-ramps at the Pleasant View exit, Basler said Wednesday.
Normally, an urban renewal district is an area a city determines is blighted or deteriorating.
“It’s not a blighted area,” Basler said. “It’s not deteriorating. You’ve got the Factory Outlets there and stuff like that.”
Instead, in this instance, the city is using a section of the urban renewal law that allows urban renewal districts in communities within 25 miles of a state or national border, Basler said.
The district will last from 1998 to 2013. During that time, the Urban Renewal Agency will use tax increment financing to pay for any improvements it makes.
In tax increment financing, the agency freezes the amount the city receives from taxes. It takes out bonds to pay for the improvements to the district. Any additional tax money the city would have received from increased tax revenue goes to the agency to pay back the bonds.
“Agencies like the fire department and the police department don’t collect any more money, but taxpayers continue to pay more and the difference goes to the Urban Renewal Agency,” Basler explained.
The cost for all the infrastructure improvements the urban renewal agency plans in the Riverbend district will cost between $2.5 million and $3.8 million, Basler said.
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