El­gin, Bas­trop County unite to fund 11th Street ex­ten­sion

Austin American-Statesman - - COMMUNITY NEWS -

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.

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