The public input sessions for the 11th Street corridor plan have been wrapped up. (Star file photo)

Archived Story

Funding sources sought for corridor

Published 10:33pm Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The visionary plan of the 11th Street Corridor project is nearing its completion.

The committee had its final meeting of the year Tuesday when Harry Burkholder, of the Land Information Access Association (LIAA), presented the long-term plans for improvement of the corridor that runs from the city of Niles to Niles Township to South Bend.

The vision includes sidewalks on both sides of the corridor, medians, new streetlights, banners, uniform signage and an improved sign welcoming drivers into Michigan. Burkholder said the hope is to improve the “aesthetics and walkability” of the district.

The project is spearheaded by the city of Niles, Niles Township and the Southwestern Michigan Economic Growth Alliance in partnership with LIAA, a nonprofit community service organization out of Traverse City.

Burkholder recommended that the committee next form a corridor improvement authority board to plan for and find funding for improvements to the corridor. The five- to nine-person board would include the Niles city manager and Niles Township supervisor.

Since funding will be the main challenge in implementing the vision, Burkholder said tax increment financing could help spark improvement on 11th Street. This tool allows the district to capture the increase on property taxes and re-invest it into the corridor.

“It’s a good vehicle to get it done,” said Shelley Klug, director of the Southwestern Michigan Economic Growth Alliance.

Burkholder said the plan is “very much conceptual,” so he has no estimate for the cost of the proposed projects.
“A great deal more study is needed to determine that,” he said.

There are no immediate plans for which projects will be undertaken first or how they will be financed, but the hope is that the studies that the committee has done and the potential for improvement will draw businesses to the area.

For more information on the project, visit

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