URTE, Brownfield Assessments, SSMID Discussed
Today's Southwest Business & Industry Meeting featured discussions on a wide variety of subjects, but most importantly it showed that stakeholders in this corridor are interested in growing their businesses and in continuing the clean up of this five-mile area along West River Dr.
Just like older residential neighborhoods in the city, the Southwest Industrial areas already feature existing infrastructure and easy access to major roadways (plus rail). Thousands work along this stretch of riverfront and major employers pump millions into our economy: SJ Smith, Sears Manufacturing, Nestle Purina, Kraft Foods, Nichols Aluminum, and numerous others are strong anchors for our city.
City staff discussed two programs that have been implemented to assist this area: the expanded URTE (Urban Revitalization Tax Exemption) Zone encompasses this area (including Rockingham, West River Dr., Concord and surrounding areas), as does the West Davenport Brownfields Assessment Project.
The URTE is an incentive that helps soften the burden of higher property taxes that might come from improving a given property, while the Brownfields Assessment Project is an EPA funded program that assists with environmental assessments for properties, which have significant implications for future re-development efforts in a given area.
Some concerns brought forward included the need for mowing in certain areas, including some city right-of-ways, as well as an assessment for truck routes along the older city streets. A desire to improve the out-dated gateway sign was also discussed.
Some talk also was brought forward regarding a SSMID self-taxing district for these folks; about half in attendance seemed to have interest. Other SSMID's in the city included: East Village, Downtown, and Hilltop. SSMID's generally fund improvements to a given area (i.e. flower baskets in downtown are paid with SSMID money).
Overall a good meeting, it was nice to see a fair number of business leaders in attendance. Also it was good to see representatives from city staff, DavenportOne, and Ald. Van Fossen participating as well. The meeting was one of a regular series of gatherings, organized by D-One, at various locations in the city.