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Midtown leaders object to the plan to fund the purchase of the Broad Ripple Family Center



Indianapolis, Indiana – The idea of using funds from the Midtown Tax Increment Finance District to pay for the city’s acquisition of the Broad Ripple Community Center has angered leaders of the Midtown community.

The proposal was not made in good faith with the community leaders who assisted in the creation of the tax-increment finance district, according to Michael McKillip, executive director of Midtown Indy.

In Indiana, TIF districts are usually utilized to reroute all tax revenue toward the revitalization of a region.

According to McKillip, the Midtown area was established with the intention of using the funds raised to address problems that the local community identified. For eleven years, the Midtown TIF District has been in operation.

“The community has worked to bring grocery stores to food deserts, to support health care opportunities, to support infrastructure gaps and socioeconomic dividing lines like 38th Street,” McKillip said Tuesday. “And if this proposal moves forward, it will be siphoned out and not available for any of those other community outcomes.”

Rather, the city is attempting to pay $26 million for the Broad Ripple Family Center before it becomes due to begin leasing the space for $1 million annually.

According to McKillip, the city intends to utilize $22 million from the TIF. He claims that since the district will only be in operation for 25 years, purchasing the family center will deplete a large amount of funds that local authorities had set aside for other initiatives.

“None of the residents or neighborhoods are opposed to the city acquiring the Broad Ripple Family Center,” McKillip said. “The frustration comes when, after three years of understanding the obligation, it solicited itself to buy the Broad Ripple Family Center, that the determination was we don’t have another solution. We’re going to take your money.”

Leaders in the community argue that the funds would be better used to renovate 38th Street, making it a safer place to drive, cycle, and walk.

McKillip said, “38th Street has three of the region’s 50 most dangerous intersections. If you walk or bike 38th Street, you will not find one intersection with pedestrian infrastructure that is fully functional.”

According to McKillip, the strategy of investing in Broad Ripple and then spending more money in another part of Midtown to support the development of Broad Ripple has proven successful in the past.

“Well, the very first TIF bond issued demonstrated the model for how this TIF was supposed to work,” McKillip said. “About $5 million went to a grocery store and multifamily housing project in Broad Ripple called the Coil, and $1 million was spun off that project and came across the street to Tarkington Park.”

The Metropolitan and Economic Development Committee heard this request on Monday, but it was put on hold until the Tuesday following Thanksgiving.

On Tuesday, no council representative was available to comment on this article.

Leaders in Midtown have been urging residents to voice their concerns about the spending to their city councilors.



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