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3/6/2017 6:46:00 PM
Frankfort Redevelopment Commission, downtown projects proceed

Leeann Doerflein, Frankfort Times

The City of Frankfort’s Monday unveiling of a new apartment complex known as Nickel Plate Flats for downtown is not the only improvement on the horizon this year.

The city and the Redevelopment Commission are planning to continue facade grants, sidewalk improvements and golf course updates. This year they also intend to finish off a couple of demolition projects that have been lanquishing.

At their meeting Monday, the RDC received a financial report from Reedy Financial on Tax Increment Financing (TIF) funds at their disposal for this year.

In 2016, $746,287 in TIF revenue was collected, and TIF revenues are expected to increase to $1,040,457 in 2017. 

With its collections surging by slightly more than 39 percent, the RDC is planning a number of improvements in the months ahead. 

The report shows that $114,921 has been earmarked for downtown sidewalk and lighting improvements; $75,000 has been slated for downtown business facade grants; $109,700 will be used to replace the failing irrigation system at Frankfort Commons; $450,000 will go to Iron Men Properties as part of the Nickel Plate Flats financing deal; and $230,300 is available for various downtown revitalization projects. 

RDC President Joe Catron said he hopes to see many business owners take advantage of the facade grant program. He also wants to hear more about Project Home Run, Mayor Chris McBarnes’ idea to develop a baseball/softball recreational facility on Frankfort’s west side. 

The facade grant program is open for applications right now, and one has already been approved for Primera Iglesia Bautista, which sought assistance on a painting and tuckpointing project.

The 50/50 matching reimbursement grant program is available to businesses in the downtown historic district. The RDC can provide up to $15,000 in assistance and up to $1,000 for preliminary design work. Interested businesses should apply through Frankfort Building Services. 

Work also recently resumed at the former site of the Dorner Building on Washington Street. The building’s demolition by its owner Cody Sanders has been controversial since it was slated to begin in the summer of 2015.

After a series of project starts and stops by Sanders, in September 2016 the Housing Authority and Sanders agreed on a settlement on the city assumed control of the property.

Last November the Frankfort Board of Public Works and Safety approved $45,000 for Kingery and Sons to complete the site work.

Once the first phase of the project is finished, Mayor Chris McBarnes said the BOW will send out a request for bids to cover the unsightly exposed wall of the Ross Building. McBarnes said the BOW will use part of the $100,000 set aside by the city council for downtown improvements. 

If there is any money left after the brickwork is completed, McBarnes hopes to fix the sidewalk near the site. He said there likely will not be any movement on the proposed Prairie Creek Park project this year, but it and the rest of the downtown revitalization proposals will not be forgotten. 

As for Project Home Run, McBarnes said the design is nearing completion, but there is still some time before the project will come to the public.

First, McBarnes plans to present the design to the Midwest Rail Group, the 501(c)3 organization dedicated to preserving the historic character of the roundhouse, which is located on the property on which Project Home Run will be developed.

Once Midwest sees the design and gives its OK, a more official proposal can come before the RDC, he said. 

“We are going to stay vigilant on doing these things,” McBarnes said, referring to Project Home Run and Prairie Creek Park. “These projects are going to be important for the success of Nickel Plate and the city.”

Related Stories:
• Brand new $6.8 million, 73-unit apartment building coming to downtown Frankfort

Copyright 2017 The Frankfort Times

Editor, John C. DePrez Jr.; Executive Editor, Carol Rogers; Publishers: IBRC and IAR

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