URBAN RENEWAL: It’s essential
Viewing renewal districts as taking money without transparency is naïve. Urban renewal districts are being used in all 50 states to revitalize areas that are poorly developed or underdeveloped. Some local examples are McEuen Park, Riverstone and Atlas Mill. Redevelopment increased their value and the tax base. The urban renewal district provided the initial money such as roads and infrastructure to make the redevelopment possible.
Renewal districts use tax increment financing. If the land value prior to being designated a renewal district was $1,000 and after if the value is $10,000, the original property tax revenue continues to the city or county while the increased money goes to the renewal district to be used to invest in the district. When the district designation is terminated, the total money in property taxes goes to the city or county. More than property taxes are received, these district residents pay sales taxes shopping locally and the redevelopment process creates jobs.
If our Urban Renewal Districts could use some of the revenue to help rehab existing homes, provide down payments on homes, help to create affordable housing, that would be wonderful. These districts are created by our elected leaders and overseen by knowledgeable people appointed by our elected officials. Urban redevelopment is essential. Could it do more? Of course. We all need to contribute not only criticize. The city of Coeur d’Alene and ignite cda websites provide public information on these districts.