The Manhattan City Commission appeared to have reached a consensus to extend a proposed Aggieville tax district.
The commission discussed the proposed tax increment financing (TIF) district Tuesday during a work session, so no votes were actually involved.
Once established, the TIF district would capture any tax revenue increase from rising property valuations to invest in public improvements within the district.
The TIF district extension involves the area between 10th and 11th streets from Bluemont to Fremont. City administrators recommended the extension to provide a boost in TIF district revenue.
Deputy city manager Jason Hilgers said that area represents opportunity for future housing growth.
“There is still a number of single-family, 50’ by 150’ lots that hold potential for assembly, and residential, high-density housing being constructed,” he said.
Commissioner Linda Morse said the city can’t build a wall around Aggieville, so she’s interested in the potential for growth in the extended area.
“It sounded like you’re envisioning residential there in the extended area, but I could also see expansion of commercial,” she said.
Darsey Advisory Services estimated that a TIF district with Aggieville and the addition would generate $15.2 million to $20.5 million in 20 years. The addition is projected to generate $1 million to $1.7 million of that total.
The proposed plan for infrastructure improvements in Aggieville is between $23.3 million and $30 million, depending on the selected options.
This includes $9.5 million to $12.6 million for a parking garage, $10.3 to $13.4 million for roads, utilities, streetscape and amenities, and $3.5 million to $4 million for electrical work done by Westar Energy and public Wi-Fi infrastructure.
Commissioner Usha Reddi said the city will need to identify other ways to fund projects.
“I’m not for having the garage totally be financed by TIF money,” she said. “I think there has to be at least one or two other dedicated finances for that.”
The commission is scheduled to set a public hearing date to create the TIF boundary during its Feb. 5 meeting with the public hearing and first reading scheduled for March 19.
After that, presentations will be given to Riley County and USD 383 during the 30-day notice period. Hilgers said the two entities would have “veto power” during this time, but the county and school district don’t have to vote in favor of the TIF district for the process to move forward.
If things go smoothly, city administrators plan for the commission to have a second reading on May 7.
The commission will also need to adopt a TIF redevelopment plan to officially begin the process. The plan would include a feasibility study summary, description and map of the area, and proposed development and construction.
The plan would go through the Manhattan Urban Area Planning Board and require four votes from the city commission for approval.
Hilgers said officials have the information “pretty much” ready, referencing a pair of Aggieville plans previously approved by the commission.
The current plan calls for a parking garage at Laramie Street and North Manhattan Avenue, a pedestrian mall that would close 12th Street to traffic from Moro to Laramie, turning a portion of Laramie Street into a two-way street, monuments to mark the Aggieville district, alley improvements and public Wi-Fi.
The commission also discussed how to proceed with the projects.
Mayor Mike Dodson said the city and the commission has a lot of heavy lifting in front of them.
“Once we get some more specific pricing on what those things look like, we will have a better idea on how to make a decision on what goes first and what goes second,” he said.
Commissioner Wynn Butler said he’s willing to bet on the parking garage helping with development. He said the majority of Aggieville business owners are in favor of the garage.
“We’re betting that the parking garage is going to cause increased development,” he said. “We’ll end up with more money to take care of Moro and everything.”
Commissioner Jerred McKee wondered whether the investments that other cities made in their districts started with additional parking or additional amenities.
“I don’t have a ton of confidence that future commissions are going to be able to come up with another $20 million to fund these additional projects,” he said.