Calling All Readers: The Yampa Valley Adventure Center and the Craig Urban Renewal Authority
Editor’s note: This is the first installment in our Calling All Readers feature, wherein Craig Press readers ask follow-up questions about stories that ran previously.
The proposed Craig Urban Renewal Authority would designate two sections of the city as urban renewal areas, creating the potential for property owners in those areas to apply for tax increment financing to help improve their property.
Tax increment financing invests the increase in future property tax revenue that is anticipated from the improvement of the property into the improvement itself.
Another proposal, the Yampa Valley Adventure Center, a business looking to locate in the old Centennial Mall, is planned within one of those urban renewal areas, and is counting on tax increment financing to be approved to make the redevelopment of the mall possible.
Follow-up question: “Was the Craig Urban Renewal Authority developed specifically for the Yampa Valley Adventure Center?”
Answer: No, although the existence of the potential adventure center is a boon to the prospects of the CURA, and vice versa.
The idea of bringing an urban renewal authority to Craig came along with city manager Peter Brixius, who joined the city in that role nearly three years ago, said CURA attorney Carolynne White.
“I believe that predates the plans for a Yampa Adventure Center,” White said. “Now, there’s no question we knew that potential investment was out there. It’s a potential investment we hoped to capture, but it wasn’t the reason for doing urban renewal.”
The potential adventure center is in Urban Renewal Area 1. But Urban Renewal Area 2 has no existing project that’s progressed to the point that would-be YVAC developer Frank Moe’s project has.
“We have some people expressing interest, but nothing’s as far along as the (YVAC),” White said. “Nothing concrete.”
Additionally, White said, the YVAC is not guaranteed to be approved once the CURA is in place.
“He’s presented once, but he hasn’t submitted an application and can’t submit an application until after the CURA plan is adopted,” White said. “Some people might be concerned there’s something nefarious, some deal to benefit this individual. That’s not the case. Even when he submits the proposal, the board has adopted a set of policies governing what proposals they’ll consider and when they’ll award tax increment financing.”
Moe would have to meet those criteria, White explained. Nothing is predetermined.
“He — or any other property owner who wants to improve their property in this area — has to demonstrate it’s not feasible without tax increment financing, disclose financial underwriting, revenue, profit expectations,” White said. “It all has to be shown to the satisfaction of the board, and they have to also demonstrate the incidental benefits to the community in terms of jobs and other factors.”
White emphasized this was open to anybody.
“Any other property owner or business owner within either of the two urban renewal areas who wishes to do something similar, they can submit a proposal if they meet the criteria,” she said.
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