Maniaci wants TIF funding for James Madison area

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An article by Joe Tarr at the Daily Page describes Ald. Bridget Maniaci’s plans to redevelop parts of her district, much of which is located in the James Madison Park neighborhood.

To encourage the neighborhood’s renovation, Maniaci would like to declare the area between East Washington Avenue and Gorham, Butler and Blount streets a redevelopment district.

Don Marx, with the city’s planning department, says the city would first have to deem that at least half of the properties are blighted. “It could be a very liberal interpretation of blight,” he says. “For instance, if a house needed new shingles, that could be considered blight.”

Given recent use of Tax Incremental Financing (Edgewater, Capitol Square improvements), it’s clear that many policy makers are not going to bother using the “blighted” argument anymore. Those who protest the use of TIF in already-developed areas are but a small and distant voice in city planning.

In fact, if Maniaci can find a TIF district within a mile of the area she wants developed, she won’t even need to make a case that the neighborhood is in dire need of improvements. It was just the other day that the a Council committee approved the use of TIF funds for a $1.8 million development of Capitol Square, including new benches and sidewalks.

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