Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Midway Station TIF plan gets thumbs-up from county's leader, conditional support from Woodford Forward

The plan to use tax-increment financing to redevelop Midway Station went before the Woodford County Fiscal Court Tuesday night, and received a favorable prediction afterward from Judge-Executive John Coyle.

Asked after the meeting if the court would join the plan endorsed by the Midway City Council, Coyle said "I can't see doing it for one city and not the other." The county is participating with Versailles in a tax-increment-financing project, in which the anticipated extra tax revenue from a redevelopment is pledged to reimburse the developers for the public infrastructure in the project.

The county and Midway are on the hook for payments on the bonds they issued to create Midway Station, which so far has failed as an industrial park and would largely be transformed into a commercial and residential development. The public infrastructure, almost half of it planned to be parking, is estimated to cost almost $31 million.

After consultants for developer Dennis Anderson presented the TIF plan, the court received a qualified endorsement of the plan from Billy Van Pelt II, CEO of Woodford Forward, a recently formed group that says it seeks "innovative policies that promote the highest and best use of urban land and the productive use of agricultural farmland."

In a letter, Van Pelt said Woodford Forward would support TIF for Midway if Anderson would provide landscape buffers, fencing, berms and other screening beyond what is required by the zoning ordinance; require an "'empty box' bond for any 'big box' building located on the property" to pay for the building's demolition if it was vacant for a year or more; and have a "live where you work" development with pedestrian trails and dedicated greenspace.

The letter noted that the Interstate 64 exit ramp bordering Midway Station "is the first impression that tourists traveling from the east have of the City of  Midway and Woodford County. It is vitally important that the scenic viewshed tourists experience . . . enhances Midway and Woodford County's brand identity."


Ed Crowley said...

I was not at the meeting, but, if this reporting is accurate - it means Woodford Forward are showing there true colors as an 'anti-growth', anti-business group. The reality is that requiring expensive landscape buffers, fencing, etc. BEYOND zoning requirements is just creating another barrier to businesses coming into Woodford County. Likewise, a 'big box' bond is just another way to selectively decide which retailers can enter the county. Did they propose that for Kroger which is putting up one of the biggest (if not the biggest) retail 'box' in the county? No - they want to be able to pick and choose who comes (or doesn't come) to the county. Enough of these guys - it's time to build a truly welcoming environment for business that will encourage managed development within our existing planning and zoning guidelines. Who is "Woodford Tomorrow" anyway? Isn't it time they come out from behind the curtain and disclose their funding and membership?

Robin Espinoza said...

I am with you Mr Crowley. Enough is enough!