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Infrastructure, jobs, health and safety: Urban renewal districts proving successful in River City

Staff Writer | October 2, 2022 1:06 AM

The Post Falls Urban Renewal Agency was created in 1991.

Its stated mission is to foster sound economic and community improvement that enhances the overall quality of life in Post Falls by:

• Providing and improving infrastructure

• Attracting jobs

• Enhancing citizen safety and health

Urban renewal districts are generally created in areas already forecasted to increase in value, according to the Kootenai County website. While active, urban renewal districts receive property taxes only on the amount the property increases in value.

By the end of this year, Post Falls will have officially closed three urban renewal districts, bringing the total of urban renewal districts the Post Falls Urban Renewal Agency has closed to seven.

The Expo District, which encompassed areas south of Seltice Way, west of Pleasant View Road, north of Interstate 90 and east of Beck Road on the west side of town, closed this summer. It had been open since 2001 and reached the maximum 20-year limit for urban renewal plans, according to Idaho statute.

Post Falls Urban Renewal Agency Executive Director Joe Johns said that district was a success.

"We’ve definitely seen growth out there," he said in an Aug. 5 Press article. "We’ve definitely seen a lot of jobs generated."

According to an economic impact study, the nearly 237-acre Expo District, through 2015, had created an economic benefit of $17.6 million annually in the form of sales and earnings of 495 jobs directly and indirectly to the city of Post Falls and the community at large.

The Center Point District, formed in 2001, and the East Post Falls District, created in 2002, will close by year's end. This will leave three districts open: Tech Park, Downtown and Pleasant View.

Center Point, between the Expo District and stateline, is 335 acres. When opened, its base valuation was roughly $1.4 million. When it closes, it will be valued at close to $94.4 million.

"An RV park is currently under construction in the district," City Administrator Shelly Enderud included in a report to the Post Falls City Council in June. "This district has also paid for transportation improvements, sewer lift station and lines and a portion of the water tower."

The 972-acre East Post Falls District runs along State Highway 41 from Prairie Avenue to just south of Seltice Way. Its starting base valuation was $62.4 million. As of last year, it was worth roughly $447.6 million.

"It has been the largest growth district in the city of Post Falls," Enderud reported. "It has funded improvements like the Greensferry Overpass, Highway 41 sewer lines, a portion of the 12th Avenue lift station and equalization basin, transportation improvements, etc. Current improvements include the Cecil (Road) and Mullan Avenue improvements and the Cecil and Poleline (Avenue) improvements recently approved by council."

Tech Park, west of Highway 41 and north of Prairie, is expected to close in 2038. It was formed with Spokane developer Beyond Green as the main proponent. This district contains improvements for roadway infrastructure, water and sewer that allow for development of the Tech Park site and the retail site north of Prairie.

Downtown was created with the city as the main proponent to continue infrastructure improvements and encourage more economic development. Located between Syringa Street and Chase Road and from Mullan to about First Avenue, the district is projected to close in 2041.

Pleasant View District, along Pleasant View Road and north of Prairie, was formed to support the relocation of a large transportation company in the district. It's expected to close in 2041.


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