Marinas: Marina group floats idea of TIF within the TIF

Owners of the Riverplace Marina property along Cemetery Road have approached the city about forming a Tax Increment Financing District within the existing TIF District.

Fred Leiner, leader of the group that now owns the property, and Dick Wallach, another partner, discussed the possibility of creating the new TIF District with the Morris City Council’s Finance Committee Thursday afternoon.

Referred to as TIF-2, it would cover the marina property and possibly the Federal Paperboard property.

While there would be no expansion of the existing TIF boundaries, the new TIF District could last for 23 years.

On Tuesday, the governor signed legislation that extended the existing TIF District an additional 12 years.

“We are trying to figure out ways to get the proposal going, to build momentum,” Wallach said. “We have repositioned it as a resort with additional retail space and a hotel.”

Wallach explained an additional 12 or more acres to the west have been added to the marina property, which would provide additional space for a resort hotel, restaurant and other features.

Under the proposed TIF District, as the property is developed, a portion of the resulting increase in property taxes would be returned to the developer, with the city and other taxing districts also receiving a share.

“Nobody is getting anything out of it now,” Mayor Richard Kopczick noted.

“We are trying to attract capital and, the longer the TIF is, the more attractive it is,” Wallach said.

In November 2006, the city council approved a planned unit development (PUD)) for the marina, which the Abonmarche Group of St. Joseph, Mich., was to develop.

Those plans called for 264 condominium units,195 single-family homes, 462 boat slips, a clubhouse and pool.

The mayor noted the PUD has expired and the plans have changed with the addition of the more than 12 acres to the west, so everything must go through the Morris Planning Commission again.

Creation of the TIF-2 will require working with Tom Jacob and Associates, the city’s TIF law firm.

Members of the committee suggested Leiner and Wallach prepare a detailed presentation for the full council before starting to work with Jacob.

The Finance Committee is Chairman William Martin, Donald Barkley and Duane Wolfe.

By Michael Farrell for Morris Daily Herald


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