Elgin, Bastrop County unite to fund 11th Street extension
By Cyndi Wright
Bastrop Advertiser BASTROP — Elgin and Bastrop County are joining forces to create a Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone to pay for an extension of 11th Street to provide 5,000 feet of commercial frontage, a project estimated to cost about $2.4 million.
The project is in an area Elgin hopes will become a growing retail park. Already committed to build in the area are Wal-Mart, which is expected to start building by April 2014; an expansion of the existing H-E-B; and the new Austin Community College Elgin campus.
Under the agreement 11th Street will be renamed Lee Dildy Boulevard in honor of the long-time commissioner who died while in office.
Designed to attract developers and spur commercial growth, the reinvestment zone commits the county to paying 46 percent of the project; $315,000 in cash from Precinct 4’s road and bridge reserve fund and $1.1 million in issued debt. Elgin will pay the remaining costs.
“We are capturing what we believe will be the increase in value in this area and reinvesting it immediately back into the area in order to attract more business,” said county planner Rachel Clampffer.
The tax increment reinvestment zone lets government entities build infrastructure to attract private developers. The benefit to the county, according to Clampffer, is partnering with a city in an economic development program intended to grow business in the county.
“We’re trying to get other people to develop in our county,” she said.
Under the agreement, the county also will receive a lot in Elgin’s economic development park that could be used as a site for a county building.
“By leveraging known upcoming businesses’ tax base, we can direct some of that new real property tax revenue towards almost any worthwhile public project, such as the streets, waste water, sidewalks, electric, etc.,” said Joe Newman, Elgin’s Economic Development Corp. director. “By partnering with the county, this allows Elgin to start and complete a project faster than we could do on our own. This also ‘primes the pump’ by having shovelready sites available immediately for new businesses.”
In Elgin’s draft project plans for the area, examples of stores that could locate there include Starbucks, Taco Bell, AT&T, Petco, Payless Shoe Store, Whataburger, Home Depot and Lowes. Based on these example businesses and employee numbers at similar business in Bastrop, approximately 843 jobs could follow the growth, the plan states.