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Downtown proposal moves forward with new price tag

 

Next stop for the plan to revitalize Shelbyville's downtown – getting a better idea of the cost.

 

On Wednesday, the city's Redevelopment Commission unanimously approved going ahead with the proposal by private developers.

 

But the commission put a cap on their request for public funding.

 

The developers want the city to put up millions of dollars in public funds to support the project, which includes building executive housing at the former Major Hospital site on West Washington Street and in the Methodist Building on the Public Square, plus extensive redesign of the square itself.

 

Genesis Property Group is asking the city for infrastructure, such as streets and sewers, a parking garage behind the Methodist Building (pictured), and a complete redesign of the Public Square.

 

At the noon-time public hearing in City Hall, several people asked questions about the proposal, including life-long resident, Brandi Wilson.

 

“So I just need to get a better understanding of where's the money coming from? Why we're doing this, I mean, I understand you guys want to bring in the high-powered people, but if they don't have something to come to, you know, besides the housing, and some street redesigns, what do we have to offer them?” she asked.

 

Redevelopment Commission member Sam Terrell replied that the idea is the project will draw both new residents, and new businesses and amenities to the downtown area.

 

He pointed to Franklin or Greenwood as examples of the potential for redoing the Public Square.

 

Another resident, Tom Lapinski, questioned if the city would actually lose parking spaces because of the development.

 

Mayor Tom DeBaun replied no, that wouldn't happen.

 

Responding to another question from Wilson, the mayor said property tax dollars would not be used to pay for the city's part of the project.

 

“So the money we would be using to fund this would be a combination of gaming money from the racino. Be a combination of TIF revenue, which is Tax Increment Financing, and then economic development money through, potentially, EDIT or some other means. We are not; we have no intention whatsoever, and we've said this openly from the beginning; we do not intend to impact general fund dollars, which are property tax dollars, that each one of us pays, myself included,” said DeBaun.

 

In addition, the mayor said Shelbyville is due to receive about $6.2 million from the state when the city takes over maintenance of State Road 9 from I-74 through the downtown where it becomes Harrison Street, a process called relinquishment.

 

That's not a done deal yet, the mayor said, but it's close.

 

After hearing from two other residents, the Redevelopment Commission voted go ahead and get estimates for the publicly-funded infrastructure, parking garage and redesign of the Square.

 

But the commission put a cap of $19 million on those items, which is 15 percent less than the $22.4 million the developers had requested.

 

City attorney Jennifer Meltzer, who's also director of the Redevelopment Commission, said now developer Genesis Property Group will seek proposals from contractors to do the work.

 

That will give the city a firm estimate of the cost.

 

Meltzer said there's no deadline at this point by which the city is to receive those proposals.

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