Last week members of the Plymouth City Council continued their discussions concerning the addition of Phase II of Veterans Parkway to the list a project in the TIF Districts. The proposed project extends Veterans Parkway to the north from Michigan Road to Pioneer Drive.
City Attorney Sean Surrisi reminded council members of their discussions in August saying, “We initially started talking about this a couple of years ago.” He said they worked jointly with Marshall County to apply for a grant from INDOT last year that would fund 80% of the project. The grant was not awarded but in discussions with INDOT following the grant announcement it was suggested that dividing the project into two segments with the City of Plymouth would handling one section and Marshall County taking care of the second section.
The split would have Plymouth submit an application for the section from Oak Drive and to the west to Pioneer Drive. The county would submit application for the section from the round-a-bout on North Michigan Road and westerly to Oak Drive.
INDOT also suggested moving forward with the plan to show “buy-in” from both the city and county by paying for the preliminary engineering. To secure funding for the city’s portion of the engineering the Plymouth Redevelopment Commission must add the project to the list of projects in TIF #1 and #3.
The Plymouth Plan Commission reviewed the project and determined it fits in the city’s comprehensive plan. The Redevelopment Commission also needs the City Council’s support to add the project to the list of projects in TIF #1 and #3.
The City Council voted down adding the project the Veterans Parkway project to the list last month because they needed more detailed information on the funding.
On September 13th representatives from Baker Tilly told the Plymouth Common Council that there is enough revenue generated in TIF # 3 to cover the city’s cost of 20% for the project which is estimated to be $1,082,000. Heidi Amspaugh said the city and county would pay for the preliminary engineering without a reimbursement from the grant if awarded.
Councilman Don Ecker asked the city’s Clerk/Treasurer Jeanine Xaver her opinion on the funding recommendation from Baker Tilly. Xaver said, “I appreciate Heidi and Kyle going through these because it gives me the confidence that there is funding there. I looked at the map earlier today of the proposed roadway for Veterans Parkway. It looks like it’s only 700 feet inside the city limit toward the western edge. Which is like two city blocks. I question the wisdom of spending a million dollars on a road that’s going to detour traffic from downtown from the vast majority of our businesses. Why do we want to detour Plymouth?”
The City Attorney stated the project has the potential to generate industrial growth with, “land that is ripe for industrial development.” He said it also provides another piece of connectivity.
Councilman Jeff Houin asked about the process going forward and Surrisi said if passed by the City Council the Redevelopment Commission would conduct a public hearing on adding the proposed project to the TIF list of projects. The Redevelopment Commission would then contract with USI Consultants to move forward with the preliminary engineering.
The Plymouth City Council tabled action due to additional questions and will revisit the request to add the Veterans Parkway Project to the TIF list at their next meeting on September 27th.