Hartford Plan Commission recommends new TIF district
Panel approves site plan changes for downtown hotel


August 29, 2017

Holden Meeks, 12, of Hartford, center, and Mahlik Davis, 11, of Hartford walk to Sumner Street near the site of a proposed hotel Monday afternoon in Hartford.
John Ehlke/Daily News

HARTFORD — The proposal still needs more discussion by the Joint Review Board and final approval by the city’s Common Council, but Monday night during a special meeting at City Hall the city’s Plan Commission recommended the creation of a new tax incremental finance district — TIF No. 11.

Some of the additional tax revenue generated by the new district will be used by Broan-Nutone to fund additional building renovation, machinery, equipment upgrades and production expansion.

“In May the company started construction of a 140,000 square-foot distribution center aimed at generating a long-term logistics solution for North America, which in turn, will free up additional production capacity and materially enhance site efficiencies,” said City Planner Justin Drew. Drew said the company already averages about 350 trucks each day at the facility and after the expansion and other changes are completed that number will increase.

The TIF No. 11 includes slightly more than 39 acres and its borders generally run along the west line of Wacker Drive to the south of Madison Drive to a line northwest of West State Street and then along a line east of Airport Drive.

Drew said the new TIF district is needed because the development of the proposed site for expanded manufacturing use requires a major capital investment beyond the financial capability of the property owners.

“In part, this difficulty arises because of the substantial equipment costs necessary for Broan-NuTone to expand their business and remain competitive,” Drew said. “But for the existence of TIF District No. 11 this important expansion could not take place. The anticipated result will be a model, high tech industrial facility offering higher employment and a larger property valuation than would have been possible under any other land use.”

Drew said Broan-Nutone wanted to receive the funds they were expected to receive from the TIF district immediately to fund equipment purchases and other costs.

He said Economic Development of Washington County was able to get a loan to provide that money.

A TIF district uses additional property taxes generated within its borders through increased economic development to pay for building infrastructure such as sewer and water, storm water management, roads, access to electricity and natural gas as well as other improvements needed to spur development.

“The city envisions the reconstruction of the Wacker Drive Bridge over the Rubicon River and the addition of a bike/pedestrian path along North Wacker Drive between Highway 60 and West State Street,” Drew said.

Two other projects that could be completed by the city in the new district and funded through the new district’s revenue would also include installing new storm sewer from State Street to the railroad tracks at a cost of about $502,000 and replacement of a water main in the same area at a cost of about $445,000.

“The city believes the proposed public service projects will increase property values of all private, commercial, industrial and residential property within one of mile of the new TIF district’s boundaries.”

Drew said in order for the new district’s taxing authority to take effect on time officials involved need to give final approval by Sept. 30. The Plan Commission had very little discussion on the matter before voting on their recommendation.

New hotel site plan change

In other business, the Plan Commission also approved some slight changes in the earlier approved site plan for the proposed Cobblestone Hotel to be built along Highway 60 (East Sumner Street) near the Jack Russell Memorial Library.

The approved change will allow construction of the four-story, 60-room hotel, closer to East Sumner Street than earlier planned in order to create a parking lot that is not too steep. As part of the newly approved plan a retaining wall, about two feet tall, will be built along the East Sumner Street right of way.

A groundbreaking ceremony for the new hotel and the Wissota Chop House, which will be in the hotel, has been set for Sept. 13 at 11 a.m.

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