In a special session Monday, the Allen County Council put together a $6.9 million pot of money to be used to develop county-owned land.
County commissioners had requested funds from various revenue sources be combined to fund infrastructure at Stonebridge Park, about 125 acres south of the General Motors truck assembly plant. The site includes 12 parcels ready to be developed for potential businesses.
Time was of the essence, Commissioner Nelson Peters said.
The county received bids last week for construction of infrastructure including water and sewer lines and roads, he said.
We have to have the cash in hand to award those bids by the end of the week, Peters said. The bids ranged from $3.8 million to $4.6 million, he said.
The infrastructure project is estimated to cost $4.6 million, he said.
The county is losing opportunities because the site is not fully prepared for companies looking to locate to the area, Peters said.
When we began, we thought just because we owned the property, they would come, Peters said.
While we have had some success, we need to construct the infrastructure at these shovel-ready sites. We have lost some projects recently because the sites were lacking infrastructure, he said.
The council approved the Stonebridge fund, and agreed that any additional economic development revenues should go into the account, which is controlled by the commissioners.
I just hope you don’t buy more property and will use any additional funds to prepare other sites so you can leverage those properties, as well, said Tom Harris, R-2nd.
Any property lacking infrastructure would not be as likely to attract potential businesses, Harris said.
The money to be used for the Stonebridge development was drawn from the general fund, county option and economic development taxes and tax increment finance funds, Commissioner Therese Brown said.
Three sources of tax increment financing will support the Stonebridge project: General Motors, BF Goodrich and Nestle, Brown said.
Tax increment financing districts enable local governments to use tax revenues generated within the districts’ boundaries to pay for improvements such as sewers and roads and to attract more development to the area.
The county also owns two parcels of land near the airport on the south edge of the county that are in need of infrastructure, Peters said.
Those sites include 80 acres north and another 80 acres south of General Mills on Bluffton Road.