Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Hailey leaders OK Gateway URA district

First URA district includes 10 percent of city’s total value

Express Staff Writer

    The Hailey City Council voted Monday to approve the Gateway District, the city’s first Urban Renewal Agency district.
    The Gateway District comprises a two- to three-block-wide swath of downtown Hailey, stretching from the airport terminal to Cobblestone Lane near McDonalds. The district includes River Street and numerous properties that the URA board deemed could benefit from urban renewal.
    “The URA is definitely going to help with the city’s capital improvement plan. It is visionary,” said Councilman Pat Cooley.    
    Urban renewal agencies are funded through tax increment financing, meaning they get the additional amount of property taxes that result from property value increases, above a base rate, during the time of the URA’s existence. The money is used to invest in urban renewal projects within the district.
    Community Development Director Micah Austin said properties within the Gateway District will see “intense redevelopment” that would not happen without the URA.
    “One of the primary goals is to make River Street a safe, multi-modal corridor,” he said.
    Several newer commercial properties within the district area, including two hotels, were removed from it to cap the district’s valuation at the maximum allowable limit, which is 10 percent of city’s total valuation of $704 million. As formed, the Gateway District consists of $70.4 million worth of property.
    Austin said he expects at least $8 million in funding to be generated by the URA over the next 20 years, which would be used to rebuild streets, water and sewer infrastructure, and develop a “downtown plaza.”
    Bryan Yeager, a River Street property owner, spoke in support of the URA, saying, “This is a good way to create valuable infrastructure for the city.”    
Tony Evans:

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