The Journal Gazette
 
 
Thursday, September 23, 2021 1:00 am

EACS pondering backing TIF district

Housing upgrades may boost enrollment

ASHLEY SLOBODA | The Journal Gazette

The East Allen County Schools board will soon decide whether to support a tax increment financing district proposed in southeast Fort Wayne.

The Fort Wayne Redevelopment Commission approached the school system about creating a residential TIF district at the northeast intersection of Tillman and Hessen Cassel roads.

TIF districts work by capturing property tax revenue generated in a certain area. The funds are then used for improvements in the district, including sidewalks and other public works projects.

Kirby Stahly, an EACS administrator, said the redevelopment commission believes the unimproved land won't be developed for residential housing without the proposed TIF district, and officials further believe more housing in that area of Fort Wayne would spur commercial development.

This means EACS would miss out on additional gains in assessed value for a set time, Chief Financial Officer Pat McCann said, but the school district could benefit long-term from enrollment gains.

“I would love to see more businesses on that side of town,” McCann said, speaking after the meeting.

Stahly told the school board Tuesday that TIFs in EACS total $53 million in assessed value, or 1.7% of the district's $3 billion in net assessed value. “TIFs are very minor in our district,” he said.

McCann previously was principal at Prince Chapman Academy, which is along Paulding Road, about a mile away from the intersection of Tillman and Hessen Cassel roads.

Jerry Starks, owner of JM Realty, has told the redevelopment commission he wants to bring new, market-rate houses to a community that needs additional housing options.

The land at 3700 Tillman Road is agricultural. Working around the floodplain has been challenging, but Starks is confident his team has found a solution. The commission approved a resolution for the Roosevelt Pointe Residential Housing Development Program last month.

For the TIF district to be established, it must be approved by the Fort Wayne Plan Commission, Fort Wayne City Council and EACS before returning to the redevelopment commission for a public hearing and final vote.

The issue was discussed at Tuesday's EACS meeting. The seven-member board is expected to act Oct. 5.

asloboda@jg.net


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