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Fort Wayne redevelopment panel sees more funding requests

Monday, November 19, 2012 - 5:01 pm

The Fort Wayne Redevelopment Commission has seen an increase in requests for money by outside groups, possibly because of the impression that the panel has lots of extra cash on hand.

Commission Director Greg Leatherman said the panel is considering a request by the History Center, 302 E. Berry St., for nearly $700,000 to help with upcoming renovations. At least three other groups also have approached the city for funding – an occurrence that used to be rare – but have not yet made public requests, Leatherman said.

Because of the more frequent requests, the commission voted last week to table the History Center’s request until January so city staff can set up clear guidelines on which projects qualify for money from tax increment financing, or TIF, districts, Leatherman said.

A TIF district is an area where the city can capture property taxes generated by a new development – such as Harrison Square – and put those tax dollars toward civic improvements.

The city’s 14 TIF districts have a combined balance of about $20 million, but Leatherman told City Council in October that almost all of that money is already tied up in specific projects.