Gov. Granholm details incentives for downtown redevelopment

Published 9:54 pm Saturday, April 16, 2005

By Staff
LANSING - Governor Jennifer M. Granholm Friday highlighted details of her proposal to provide financial incentives for the upgrade and expansion of downtowns which is part of her plan to create tens of thousands of jobs and jumpstart Michigan's economy this year. During a visit to the Detroit riverfront, the Governor said the expansion of the scope of downtown development authorities, included in the Jobs Today Initiative, is part of a broader strategy to spur a rapid infusion of public and private investment in badly needed infrastructure projects.
Under the Governor's plan, municipalities with a Downtown Development Authority (DDA) or Tax Increment Finance Authority (TIFA) will be allowed to capture property taxes from their existing downtown development areas to finance improvements in new Downtown Expansion Zones (DEZs). Communities interested in projects such as site preparation, demolition activities, infrastructure developments and streetscaping are encouraged to apply to the Michigan Economic Development Corporation to establish a DEZ.
In order for communities to take advantage of the Governor's proposal, a legislative change is needed to allow for the capture of additional state property taxes.
The Governor indicated that the legislation would be introduced next week and she called for quick action.
The Jobs Today Initiative is a three-year program to accelerate the pace of state and local infrastructure projects that were scheduled to begin over the next decade.
First announced in the Governor's 2005 State of the State Address, the Jobs Today Initiative will create jobs in seven key areas, including: affordable housing construction and renovation; school improvement and repair; pollution cleanup; road improvements; long-term care facility construction and renovation; downtown development; and university campus improvements.
Granholm said last month's 2005 budget agreement paved the way for many of the accelerated projects to begin this construction season.
As part of the agreement, legislative approval was given to the $38 million in pollution cleanup projects as well as $220 million in projects to upgrade universities and community colleges.
In addition, Granholm said $400 million in accelerated road projects will also begin this year.
In addition to asking the Legislature to approve a change in the law to create incentives for local governments to create DEZs to encourage development, Granholm said she will be asking them to change the state's School Bond Loan fund to make it easier for Michigan school districts to renovate aging school buildings without raising taxes.
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