Oswego Closing in On Two New Downtown Developments
Feb 23, 2017 07:41AM ● Published by Steven Jack
Oswego Village President Gail Johnson gave her State of the Village address Wednesday afternoon. She said the creation of a TIF District last year will lead to the redevelopment of the former Alexander Lumber and old Village Hall lots.
Village President Gail Johnson gave her State of the Village address Wednesday afternoon at the newly renovated Kendall 11 movie theaters, and during her presentation said she was "sworn to secrecy" over plans for downtown redevelopment.
However, in a followup interview Wednesday evening Johnson revealed the village is in the final stages of negotiations for a large-scale development on the former Alexander Lumber site on Adams Street and a separate development on the former Village Hall lot on Main Street.
"I don't want to jeopardize these plans, so there isn't too much more that I can say. We should be ready to make an announcement after our next Village Board meeting on March 7," Johnson said Wednesday night.
The developments are proposed by two separate developers. Johnson said work on the former Village Hall lot adjacent to the Dairy Hut should begin quickly. Because of its complexity, the Alexander Lumber lot project will take much longer "to get shovels in the ground," she said.
During her address Johnson credited the surge in downtown development to the September 2016 creation of a Downtown Tax Increment Financing District. She said the village began receiving inquiries from developers "almost immediately" after the TIF District was passed.
A TIF District encourages redevelopment in blighted or underdeveloped areas by using future property taxes resulting from new construction or capital improvements. Property taxes generated prior to the creation of the TIF district — the base level — continue to be distributed to local taxing bodies at the same amount.
The gradual growth in tax revenue above the base level — the increment — is used for redevelopment as property values rise. TIF funds may repay borrowing done by the municipality to finance redevelopment within the district, or they may finance improvements only as new revenue is generated.
To quicken the pace of development on the Alexander lot, the village bought the land in December for $1.49 million.
"I think it's important for people to know that when the village purchased that property that we were already in talks with developers," she said. "There was a plan in place."
Entrepreneurship program announced
Johnson also made more news during her State of the Village address Wednesday. She revealed the creation of an entrepreneurship and co-working partnership between the village and the Oswego Public Library District titled "OsWeGrow."
The program will be intended to foster local entrepreneurship by providing resources through the village's Economic Development Department and co-working space at the newly expanded downtown Oswego Public Library. Johnson said more details on OsWeGrow will be made available very soon.