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April 7, 2013

Charlestown expands TIF district

Officials hope action will result in more residents, businesses

CHARLESTOWN — The Charlestown City Council passed a resolution to expand the city’s commercial tax increment financing distinct.

Following passage of the resolution last week, the TIF district includes the site of the proposed Family Activities Center, a project officials say has a total price tag of more than $4 million. By including the center in the district, the Charlestown Redevelopment Commission now has another funding source for the project, in that it can use TIF funds to pay for it.

The initial TIF district was designated in 2005.

“The TIF district composes of the business areas in the city of Charlestown, which basically includes the Charlestown Industrial Park, the business corridor down State Road 3 and the corridor out [Ind.] 403, where the JayC store and those businesses are out there,” said council member Dan James, the only dissenting vote in the resolution’s 3-1 passage.

Councilman Jeff Aaron said he is a big supporter of taking steps to see the Family Activities Center is completed.

“I have supported any type of movement that will bring jobs, growth or anything positive for our city,” he said.

He added that the activities center has the ability to enhance the community, and possibly bring jobs to the area.

“I think it is an awesome thing that we are doing,” he said. “I can’t tell you how many jobs it will bring, or what the jobs are going to pay, but our expectations have to be high. If it brings 10 jobs, that is 10 more jobs than we had. If it brings a 100 jobs, we’ll take that, too.”

Charlestown Mayor Bob Hall, a supporter of the TIF expansion and the Family Activities Center, said the step is another in a plan originated by city officials in 2005 to position it for future growth.

“One the five components [of the plan] is quality of life programs, which the park [Family Activities Center] will allow to happen,” Hall said. “As far as the impact on the community, it will continue to do what we set out to do and that is to make Charlestown the best place to live and raise a family.”

Hall said by having amenities, such as the family water park in the area, the city will be better prepared to attract new residents.

“All around the state, they are using these monies because they realize corporations that come in, the executives, the workers and all that come here are wanting amenities for their families,” he said. “We want to attract them to live in Charlestown.”

Hall said by attracting more people to the city, business and revenue will follow.

“Our overall objective is to create a great community to live and raise a family, and rooftops are our objective,” he said. “As you get in more rooftops, we will get in more business because that is all driven by how many people you have in your community.”

POLICE CAMERAS

Also during the city council meeting last week, officials unanimously approved the allocation of $35,000 to equip six Charlestown Police Department vehicles with cameras. The cameras will be installed in four patrol vehicles purchased in late 2012 and two Chevrolet Tahoes used by the department’s K-9 units.

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