MIDTOWN REDEVELOPMENT: No tax break needed after all.

Item noted on the Little Rock City Board agenda meeting Tuesday:

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Disbanding the Midtown Redevelopment District, created in 2003 to spur development in an area roughly between Catholic High School and Interstate 630 in a swath between University Avenue and McKinley Street.

It never did its intended purpose.. It was created to provide a financial subsidy to developers through a tax increment finance district. In such a district, property tax revenue — instead of going to schools and other governments — help pay for development. The idea was that blighted areas would get a boost and added property value would eventually accrue to the greater good. The problem in Arkansas is that the most lucrative property tax millage is that for public schools and the first 25 mills is considered state revenue and untouchable by a TIF district. So the idea has been little used in Arkansas.

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The resolution to disband the district said a TIF district was never created.

Side note: Private capital stepped in without government welfare. Millions in new development has occurred in that area. One currently underway is The District at Midtown, a mixed-use project where a Sears once sat. It’s been described as a $100 million project.

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The resolution to disband the district is deemed non-controversial on the agenda meeting list of items for consideration the following week.

Bigger news Tuesday will be the mayor’s outline of a plan to spend the sales tax increase he hopes voters will approve later this year. Lindsey Millar has detailed that already this week.