The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Local News

January 23, 2014

No urban renewal plan means 'economic suicide'

(Continued)

Two pages later, the draft specified the cost of urban renewal projects at the rail park won't exceed $53.6 million. That eight-figure sum also doesn't commit the city to any spending, Kinser said.

"I understand that there are some scary numbers here that might make you hesitant to approve this plan, especially when you do see a number as big as $53.6 million," Kinser said to the committee. "This is not committing the city to do any of those. It's simply stating that there's authority to do these, but all future actions would have to come back to counciling."

In light of those changes in law and the current presentation to the city, planning committee member Bob Allmendinger said not approving an urban renewal plan would be "economic suicide."

"It needs to move forward," he said. "The whole aspect as far as getting businesses to come to municipalities or states, you have to have the plan in place."

The committee unanimously recommended the plan for approval by the city council. A public hearing regarding the plan will take place Feb. 11.

If the council approves of the plan, Kinser said the city will be able to move forward with its TIF agreements with the two rail companies slated for the rail park, as well as others that may come down the road.

Allmendinger acknowledged the complexity of the agreements and development incentives can make the current proposals difficult to digest.

"I think it's an overall lack of understanding," he said. Regarding the large figures in the plan: "The dollars are not being spent. They're just being estimated. The other side of that, if we don't do this, this is the lifeblood of the community for the future."

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