Rick Poppitz
Special to The Gardner News
Establishing a Neighborhood Revitalization Area (NRA) program was the topic of discussion at the Gardner Economic Development Advisory Committee (EDAC) meeting on Nov. 16.
The city recently received a grant for a little over $112,500 by The Mid-America Regional Council, and will contribute the additional expenses to make the total cost of the NRA project $150,000. The plan encompasses beautification, infrastructure improvements and transportation.
Larry Powell, economic development director, began by reviewing the information discussed at the previous meeting, at which the committee had reached consensus on most of the details of the program.
K.S.A. 12-17,114 allows the governing body of any municipality to designate areas within the municipality as neighborhood revitalization areas.
Gardner created a business only NRA program in 1997 with a 10 year sunset. The last application was accepted in 2007.
As of Dec. 2017, all rebates from the 1997 program will be complete.
The county appraiser’s office has reviewed the numbers from the ten years of Gardner’s previous program.
According to that review, Gardner businesses that renovated increased value by 153 percent and new construction increased value by 1095 percent, showing that the program does have an effect in increasing the tax base over time.
Gardner is now preparing to implement a new NRA program.
Property owners within the designated areas can apply for up to 95 percent property tax rebate for 10 years, on the increased property value from new business construction or expansion of an existing business.
Five percent of the new taxable value is retained by Johnson County, who will administer the collection and redistribution of rebated funds to the property owner.
All special, and the 8 mills of the USD 231 Capital Mill outlay levy, will not be rebated as part of this program.
Powell said the program was intended to be small business/retail oriented. He mentioned O’Reilly Auto Parts as one of the previous program participants.
“They [were] getting back in excess of $22,000 a year for ten years, so that paid them back over $220,000 – a good investment on their part,” Powell said.
The main objective of the Nov. 16 meeting was to designate the revitalization zones. Powell handed out maps showing preliminary proposed zones and asked for committee input.
The proposed zones would include one block north and south of East Main Street from Center to Moonlight. The empty lot north of the Quik Trip store is an example of the type of lots the city would like to see developed.
The proposed map also included over 100 acres on the south side of town, west of S. Gardner Road, from 188th Street to I-35.
State law limits the revitalization area to a percentage of the municipality’s total acreage. The acreage represented in the proposed maps do not come near the limit.
The committee suggested additional areas to be added to the proposed maps. They extended the proposed area on the south side to include more lots on the north side of 188th.
On the west side of town, they added the triangular shaped piece of land east of Waverly Road that sits between US 56 and 175th Street.
The committee will not have a December meeting.
Powell said he would prepare the updated maps, along with final program details as they will be presented to council and email them to the committee members for consensus approval. He plans to have the program ready to present to council in January.