By Katie Dahlstrom
The Clinton Herald
By this time next year, 19th Avenue North will run through the Lyons Business and Technology Park, opening the park for more development.
The city of Clinton during its meeting last week accepted a $450,000 Restoring Iowa's Sound Economy (RISE) grant to construct 1,100 feet of 19th Avenue North, 880 feet of 10th Street Northwest and a right-turn lane on Main Avenue.
The extension will connect Millcreek Parkway to Main Avenue, allowing for future development in the park by opening up an additional 80 acres. Additionally, the extension will provide another access and exit to accommodate the increased traffic that has occurred as a result of the development in the area.
According to the timeline provided by the Iowa DOT, construction will start in May 2014 and the project will wrap up in November 2014.
The city will be responsible for the remaining $1.1 million of the $1.55 million project, which it plans to nearly cover using tax increment financing (TIF). The tech park is an urban renewal area and the city earlier in its Tuesday meeting amended the urban renewal agreement, making way for the roadway extension.
"By the council taking the action to approve that urban renewal plan, this is now a project we can request tax increment financing for to fund," City Administrator Jessica Kinser explained.
A $300,000 shortfall remains, which the city has asked the Clinton County Development Association to cover. This portion of the project would pay for items not eligible under the RISE grant, such as turn lanes on Mill Creek Parkway. If the CCDA couldn't bankroll the $300,000, the city would scale down the portions not covered by the RISE grant and TIF.
According to Kinser, there won't be any debt associated with the project.
"We're looking at the unique ability to have what I estimate to be $800,000 of tax increment financing available in fiscal year 2015 because we have no other obligations in that district. So if we can meet that other $300,000 portion then we'll be looking at being able to cash flow this in the current year," Kinser said.
URBAN RENEWAL AMENDMENT
The amendment to the park's urban renewal plan also makes way for TIF funds to be used for other developments in the park, such as purchase of more land, development agreements, platting and getting the site certified as a development site by the state.
Projects included in the urban renewal amendment amount to $5.9 million in potential debt.
"That does not mean that we are binding ourselves to actually complete these projects," Kinser said. "What this does is this provides a framework for when tax increment financing could be used, when development agreements could be pursued and for what."
Each project would have to come before the council individually for approval.