The future use of Zionsville’s $2.2 million tax increment finance funds must be decided by July 15.

The Zionsville Redevelopment Commission has to present a capital projects plan to the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance for the use of TIF money in the town’s district by that date, or risk losing the surplus amount it has built over time.

One major topic was helping market the Dow property at 106th Street.

Valerie Swack of the Zionsville Town Council, who has an advisory role on the RDC, said at their Monday, March 22, meeting that she is trying to reach out to Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs to help put together a design charrette for possible visuals of how the Dow property might be developed.

“It would give us something to show,” she said.

Assuming SPEA is receptive to helping out the town, Swack envisioned a public meeting in which citizens could give their ideas on features that would benefit 106th Street. Swack said Monday that she hasn’t heard back from SPEA, however.

One project idea that most present agreed on as a priority item was providing a sanitary sewer trunk line to the Dow property, which now lacks access to that utility. If a developer were interested in that site today, Zionsville would not be able to provide sewer service immediately.

Dax Norton, Boone County Economic Development Corporation executive director, said infrastructure improvements (such as sewer, water, electric, gas, etc.) are an important factor in economic development.

“Almost 80 percent said infrastructure was the driving force,” he said.

RDC member Mike Latz agreed.

“This is a worthwhile project,” he said.

Norton recommended using TIF funds as an economic development incentive.

“I’m not talking about giving it away like a lottery,” he said. “But everyone is clamoring for money.”

In the case of the recent expansion of Bluefish Wireless in the county’s 96th Street TIF district (which brought with it 150 new jobs by 2013), the Boone County Redevelopment Commission pledged $240,000 in TIF funds to incentivize Bluefish to stay. The other alternative would have been to provide tax abatements, Norton said, something they were able to avoid by using TIF dollars.

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