Majority of TIF funds to be directed at rehabbing downtown parking lots

Posted: Jan. 26, 2013 3:09 pm Updated: Feb. 10, 2013 12:15 am

Herald-Whig Staff Writer

The rehabilitation of downtown Quincy parking lots is expected to continue with money generated through tax increment financing districts.

Quincy's TIF Joint Review Board was told at its annual meeting last week that at least one parking lot will be built or rehabilitated each year through 2016.

Director of Planning and Development Chuck Bevelheimer said the city is set to build a new parking lot on the northeast corner of Sixth and Jersey this year. The city bought the property in June for $120,000, and design and construction of the 95-space lot is budgeted at $414,000.

Other parking lots up for redevelopment are Lot D on Vermont between Sixth and Seventh streets in 2014 and Lot A at the northwest corner of Seventh and Jersey in 2015.

After parking lot reconstruction is complete, Bevelheimer said the city will likely focus on streetscape improvement along Sixth and Hampshire streets in the TIF district. This could happen sooner if the city is able to obtain grant money.

Last year, the city completed a $1.1 million streetscape project around the Adams County Health Department and the Kroc Center with two grants and $114,000 in TIF funds.

"That's why you see the city doing everything we can to leverage projects to do the infrastructure around buildings to address -- what was considered at one time -- a tired and weak looking streetscape with poor lighting and poor parking lots," Bevelheimer said.

The city in 2012 also completed work on Parking Lot I just east of Sixth and Hampshire with $286,000 in TIF money. It also paid off a $131,000 note to MWF Properties, owner of Franklin Square Apartments, for the completion of infrastructure improvements around the complex on Maiden Lane.

Besides the construction of Parking Lot K at Sixth and Jersey this year, the city is expected to install a "Looking for Lincoln" wayside exhibit at Front and Delaware and complete the riverfront park trail connection project with TIF funds.

Last February, the city held a public meeting on the trail project, which would connect Clat Adams and Edgewater parks. Construction could move forward this summer.

In August 2010, the City Council approved a $52,000 contract with Klingner and Associates for the trail design work. Originally, a road was included in the project connecting the two parks, but it was removed from the plans.

There is $100,000 in TIF funds budgeted to complete the trail. The city has received a $262,000 grant through the Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program and a $245,000 grant through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for the project.

Since the formation in 1999 of the city's West TIF district, which encompasses a 42-block area between the Mississippi River and Fifth Street between Broadway and Delaware, the equalized assessed valuation of property in the area has risen from $5.819 million to $10.63 million. There has also been $1.713 million in additional tax revenue raised, with most being used to leverage grant money.

The East TIF district formed in 2010 contains 185 parcels from Fifth to Ninth streets between Broadway and York.