CLINTON — The city of Clinton may enter an agreement with the Prince of Peace Catholic Church for a land-swap and development of a public right-of-way.

City Administrator Gary Boden introduced the issue during the Committee of the Whole meeting held Tuesday night. Boden said the discussion was initiated by the church because church members want to begin construction of the new church facility to be located at Mill Creek Parkway and 19th Avenue Northwest.

Boden said church officials assert they are guaranteed a curb cut onto the parkway, but he noted that the city wants to limit curb cuts because of the potential for traffic congestion in the area. He added that in an effort to be a good neighbor, the parish has come to a tentative agreement to have an “exchange” of property.

In return for 2.5-acres of land that Prince of Peace would give to the city, Clinton would have ground committed to a public right-of-way.

Boden said the agreement would add to a commercial zone slated for development, but is too small to develop for most commercial uses.

“We need to have a bigger footprint to allow for commercial development,” said Boden.

He added that talks are being held with other property owners in the area who have indicated willingness to offer more land to the city for the construction of the street projects.

The three-section street construction project totals an estimated $804,932.86. The amount needed for construction related to the Prince of Peace agreement would be $260.206.20, including installing turning lanes. Boden said the committee should consider also constructing the road segment extending south from 19th Avenue North, estimated at $213,101.49. He noted that the middle section, estimated to cost $331,000, could be completed in the future as development needs arise.

In regard to paying for the projects, Boden said that fortunately, because of tax increment financing commitments made for acquisition of property in the area and after fiscal year 2008-2009 the city will be done buying properties, approximately $113,000 of revenue will be freed up. Boden said the city could pay for the first section through a three-year bank note.

He advised that given the fact that 19th Avenue North would be under construction this year, it might be a cost-effective opportunity to do both sections through a five-year loan.

Boden said while no one expects the area to develop overnight, area Realtors have indicated a very positive belief in the sale ability of the parcels. He said the area would be an opportunity for construction of housing in the area and to establish a new commercial zone on the northwest side of town.

Ed Kross, a representative from the parish, addressed the council and remarked the site was chosen because of its logistical value. He advised that the parish took out an option to buy the land in 2003 and the construction plan was approved by both the Planning and Zoning Commission and the City Council in early 2005.

He said $3.5 million has been pledged for the first phase of facility construction and church members are planning to begin the second portion of fundraising to raise the rest of the funds needed to build the church.

He explained that access to the parkway from the church was granted in the approved plat and noted the parish did not seek the construction of a city street, but did see the value of it.

Kross said the church plans to have a private drive off the street for access to the property.

Kross said the parish is looking forward to starting the project and plans to break ground this summer, with construction to be complete by the middle of next year.

A motion to create the agreement between the city and the parish authorizing both projects and for the city to seek a five-year bank note to fund the project was approved.

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