In an effort to improve the downtown and industrial park, Crothersville officials recently passed an ordinance to establish a redevelopment commission.
That board will work to foster and promote economic development within the southeastern Jackson County community.
The commission is responsible for developing plans and managing tools to address conditions of blight (redevelopment areas) and underutilized land of economic significance (economic development areas).
A redevelopment commission’s work typically involves identifying blighted areas, designating redevelopment areas, developing plans to eliminate blight and working in partnership with private industry and developers to generate new economic development with increased tax base and new jobs.
“It’s to help this town out in the downtown and at the industrial park to get more business to come to town,” said Lenvel “Butch” Robinson, president of the Crothersville Town Council.
Robinson will be joined by Rick Strong, Geoffrey Walker, Jerad Sporleder and Charles Densford on the redevelopment commission. Ralph Hillenburg, who serves on the school board in town, will serve as a nonvoting adviser. They were all appointed to one-year terms.
They will meet soon to elect officers — president, vice president and secretary — and determine when they will meet each month.
Their first order of action will be to develop a tax increment financing district. That is a tool designed to redirect property tax funds coming from new and future developments to finance redevelopment and community improvement projects. It’s a way to get revenue without increasing property taxes.
Robinson said he envisions a TIF district on the east side of the railroad tracks over to U.S. 31 through town, including around the town hall and the downtown.
He, however, recently talked to a business owner just outside of town limits who is interested in being annexed into the TIF district.
Town attorney Jeff Lorenzo said the annexation process ranges from 90 to 120 days, depending on whether there are any remonstrators.
Lorenzo said the redevelopment commission may want to take advice from the town council as it figures out what the TIF district will look like.
Seymour is presently the only Jackson County community with a redevelopment commission and TIF districts.
TIF money has been used in several ways in Seymour, including making street and sewer repairs within the TIF district area, enhancing the downtown and building a new Department of Public Works facility, the Jackson County Learning Center and the Burkart Crossing apartments.