Hobart’s elected officials are looking into creating a new tax increment finance district that would include a stretch of the U.S. 30 commercial corridor, in hopes of both drawing more businesses there and boosting their chances of snagging a county convention center.

“I requested (Economic Development director Denarie Kane) to begin the process, understanding the potential for U.S. 30, its current growth and where it could grow. Being a TIF area could be a benefit to the city,” Mayor Brian Snedecor told the City Council on Wednesday.

Snedecor said the new TIF boundaries would include the commercial and undeveloped areas from 69th Avenue on the north to south of U.S. 30 and from Mississippi on the west side to Indiana 51 on the east.

He said the district would include the Silverstone property off Mississippi and north of U.S. 30, which was one of the top five sites chosen for a possible Lake County convention center in an independent study. It would also include Albanese Confectionery retail store and factory, but would not take in Green Acres or other residential areas, he said.

Kane said with a TIF district the city could provide incentives to companies interested in locating in the area.

“Equally important, as discussion continues on a convention center, it’s important that Hobart not be at a disadvantage by (our site) not being in a TIF district,” Kane said.

She pointed out that the two sites in Merrillville that were named among the top five in the survey — the former Radisson complex acreage at U.S. 30 and Interstate 65 and Century Mall at U.S. 30 and Broadway — are both in TIF districts.

The mall has been in the Broadway TIF district, which also includes the Ameriplex tech park. The Merrillville Town Council recently created a new TIF district around the former Radisson complex for whatever new development takes place there.

Kane said the city wouldn’t see any revenue generated from the new TIF district until 2021, and that’s only if the city’s Redevelopment Commission requests some or all of the revenue in 2020.

Kane also said that as of now, the only anticipated new development in the proposed TIF district is a BJ’s restaurant and brewery to be located at the current site of Joe’s Crab Shack.

Kane said the plan commission would review the proposal at its Aug. 1 meeting and it would be forwarded to the town council for a vote at its Aug. 7 meeting.
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