Funding for Valpo redevelopment dwindles
By James D. Wolf Jr. Post-Tribune correspondent January 17, 2013 10:20PM
Updated: February 19, 2013 2:05PM
VALPARAISO — The expansion of downtown Central Plaza Park will not proceed much further this year because the Valparaiso Redevelopment Commission’s tax draw was $1.4 million less than expected for 2013.
Likewise, the Redevelopment Commission is cutting out any work on new pathways in the city, including the one extending from Valparaiso High School to the west end of town, and cutting out any new facade programs not for historic downtown.
The only plan the commission did go forward with on Thursday was to hire two firms in collaboration with the Indiana 49 Road Corridor Plan, and that was at a lesser amount than proposed.
“Until revenues stabilize, we’ve had to defer these items,” Redevelopment Commission Executive Director Stu Summers said.
The city’s facade grants for the Historic Downtown will continue, and the City Council had approved that program at its Monday meeting.
However, there will be no new areas of Calumet Avenue with facade programs that give building owners grants for making outside improvements.
The commission will honor facade grants already promised, such as the one for the old police station on Indiana Avenue that the Porter County Museum is moving into, and the one for the last downtown county jail.
Summers said the new 2013 budget also has $1 million set aside for any more possible shortages.
The commission got less Tax Increment Financing revenues from TIF districts because of old property tax appeals.
Some appeals dated to 2008, so the owners received taxes paid back and interest from all years since then, which came out of expected 2013 tax money.
The refunds were $300,000 in some cases.
The budget is still somewhat unstable as “there are appeals in progress,” Summers said.
The tax money from TIFs has gone from $4.9 million in 2011 to $3.7 million in 2012 and $3.45 million this year.
On the pathway from the high school, Summer said he told engineers with The Troyer Group of Mishawaka to stop work on the design.
The firm was paid $35,435 of the contracted $180,000 for survey work, and Summers wanted the 2014 planned project halted until 2015 or 2016, when money becomes available.
For the Indiana 49 study, American Structurepoint and Kendig-Keast Collaborative will create a plan for development in the areas along the highway from U.S. 6 to south city limits.
The contract won’t exceed $134,770, of which the Valparaiso Economic Development Corp. will pay $50,000 and Valparaiso City Utilities may pay $20,000, depending on a Jan. 22 board vote.