The Sedalia City Council had its turn to discuss the Sedalia Midtown TIF Project during Monday night’s work session in the Mayor’s Conference Room in the Municipal Building.
The Sedalia Midtown TIF Project is a 163-acre district that encompasses downtown Sedalia. The financing of the district will provide funds to revitalize and redevelop the downtown area.
According to the Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City, a TIF, known as Tax Increment Financing, “is a financing and development tool that allows future real property taxes and other taxes generated by new development to pay for costs of construction of public infrastructure and other improvements. TIF encourages development of blighted, substandard and economically underutilized areas that would not be developed without public assistance.”
The Midtown TIF was created once it was determined to be a conservation area due to a number of reasons, including that 91 percent of structures are 35 years old or older, lack of community planning, deterioration, depreciation and obsolescence, according to Jennifer Baird, of Lauber Municipal Law, the city’s economic development counsel.
“This is a conservation district. What we’re saying is we’re trying to conserve the physical structure of the historic downtown area,” Community Development Director John Simmons said. “We’re looking at those structural issues, public infrastructure issues. How do we conserve what we have in downtown? (Council) will determine based on (the Sedalia TIF Commission’s) recommendation the funding mechanisms and the events that will trigger execution of the different elements of the plan.”
The Midtown TIF project must be completed by 2031, when funds will be released to the taxing jurisdictions. Simmons said during the TIF Commission meeting the line items requesting funding are expected to be completed in the “foreseeable near future.” Discussion did not take place during the council public work session regarding what will trigger the start of each line item.
The Sedalia TIF Commission voted during its meeting April 13 to recommend to council an amendment to the project, which added renovating the Uptown Theater and the Liberty Center as well as business incentives for Sedalia Downtown Development Inc. to use to help and encourage businesses to locate to the downtown area. Those are in addition to streetscape, demolition of the Broadway Arms building, renovation of the Trust Building, and professional fees related to the Midtown TIF Project.
The new recommended total project cost is $10,303,000.
This marks the second amendment to the original Midtown TIF project approved in November 2008. The TIF was originally formed to help fund a community center, but once the Parks and Recreation Department moved the location out of the TIF district, it was back to the drawing board. The Commission then chose to include the McLaughlin Building in the project, but once State Fair Community College decided to not sell the building to the City of Sedalia, it was back to the drawing board, again.
Representatives of the Liberty Center, Uptown Theater and Trust Building line items were present Monday. Liberty Center representatives spoke during the April 13 commission meeting. Ward 2 Councilman Russell Driskell asked Marty Lange of the Uptown to describe the plans for the building. Lange said they’ve uncovered hundreds of historical items from the Uptown as well as other local theaters that no longer exist.
“In addition to being a cinematic and live performance venue, we’ll also have a museum in it. There’s two rooms that will accommodate for it and we’ll have a rotating exhibit,” Lange said. “… We will offer cinema back to downtown Sedalia. Not the first-run films you would see at the Galaxy (Theater) … We’re going to be all-encompassing when it comes to live entertainment, it won’t be just country or jazz.
“We have other theaters in Sedalia that serve more of a niche market. This one kind of widens it out and does something the others aren’t doing and we hope to work with the others that are here so we can all make this downtown district a lot more viable, a lot more profound.”
Lange added that they plan to sell concessions that include current and “retro” items, such as candy and soda that isn’t easily found anymore, during matinees and family night and date night movie showings. Lange said they plan to have live music performances at least once a week.
Council voted to go into closed session for legal advice following the public work session. Council will vote on the Midtown TIF amendment during the May 2 meeting.
All council members were present.
Nicole Cooke can be reached at 660-530-0138 or @NicoleRCooke.