Howard Lake-Waverly Herald, Sept. 13, 1999

TIF district may get stoplight for Howard Lake

By Andrea Vargo

Dura Supreme will benefit to the tune of $100,000 from the new Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District #3, the Howard Lake City Council decided Wednesday.

Money will be allocated to Dura Supreme at $10,000 per year. The rest of the anticipated revenue, that may amount to as much as $35,000 per year, will go to the city for improvements in the Dura Supreme TIF district and other allowable expenses.

Walt and Michelle Hartman, TIF consultants for the city, told the council to make up a wish list of projects, and they would tell them if they were acceptable under TIF rules.

Council members started throwing out ideas for projects. Walt Hartman told them what they could and could not do.

The most important project, the council agreed, is a stoplight for the Highway 12 and County Rd. 7 intersection by Dura Supreme.

All agreed the traffic is very heavy when the work shift is over, and that makes it difficult and dangerous to enter onto Highway 12 at that time.

A stoplight there would also provide breaks in the traffic, so crossing Highway 12 in town would probably be safer, said Mayor Gerry Smith.

Other suggestions included: a facelift for the downtown area, a pedestrian flasher for Highway 12 and Eighth Ave., a holding pond and roads around Dura Supreme, possible land acquisition and demolition of some structures, a renovated forcemain and lift station for that area, perhaps some lighting down as far as Dura Supreme, and maybe a spruced-up entrance to the city on the east end of town.

These were all acceptable ideas, said the Hartmans. But some of the things the council really wanted are out of the question.

Biking and walking paths, any kind of recreational use ideas, a new liquor store or other public building: all these things are out, said Walt Hartman.

"You missed parks by a year (because the TIF rules changed)," he said.

Walt Hartman told the council it could even use the TIF revenue to encourage a particular type of business to come into town.

If another bakery was encouraged to move in, a building could be rehabilitated to fit the business.

Then, the baker could have the debt on the building reduced with TIF money each year, as long as he/she stayed a certain number of years.

The council has to determine the exact boundaries of the TIF district to include any of the options it thinks it might pursue, said Michelle Hartman.

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