Friday, August 16, 2013

Hailey Urban Renewal Agency aims to improve River Street

City hopes to raise $8.7 million in 20 years

Express Staff Writer

    Hailey’s first urban renewal project could soon be launched, bringing a new source of revenue for major public works projects in specific parts of the city by January 2015.
    In City Council chambers Monday, Community Development Director Micah Austin presented a map of the Gateway Urban Renewal District to about 12 River Street property owners.
    River Street could get $6.13 million in street improvements over the course of a proposed 20-year urban renewal district plan. About $4 million more could be raised for water system improvements, downtown infrastructure upgrades, public art and a downtown plaza.
    Austin said no taxes would be increased to provide the revenue.
    The Gateway District includes a mile-long swath of residential and commercial properties stretching from Fox Acres Road in the south to Albertsons grocery store in the north, as well as a stretch of Bullion Street and Hop Porter Park.
    Any areas within the district could be improved with revenue raised from the district.
    Several newer commercial properties within the district area, including two hotels, were removed from it to cap the district’s valuation at the maximum allowable limit, which is 10 percent of city’s total valuation of $704 million. As formed, the Gateway District consists of $70.4 million worth of property.
    Austin said that once the district is established, revenue from property-tax increases within the district would be focused on urban renewal projects within the district, rather than disbursed to other jurisdictions, including Blaine County, and the Cemetery District.
    Austin said he expects a total of $8,680,000 to be raised over 20 years. If the city had established the district in 2011, the URA would have more than $90,000 already, he said.
    Austin said the URA board could choose to use a revenue bond to raise matching grant funds, to complete the renovation of River Street, after the urban renewal district is established.
    “It would take a couple of years at least before the banks would be confident that we [the URA board] could repay the loan,” he said.
    The Hailey URA board, led by Chair Jason Miller, would have to approve the plan before sending it to the City Council for final approval.
    For more information, call Austin at 788-9815, ext. 13.

Tony Evans:

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