GOSHEN — Elkhart County Redevelopment Commission members hope to turn a special taxing zone into a heavyweight with the inclusion of land along C.R. 6 west of Elkhart.
Commission members have for months been discussing an area in Cleveland Township where they expect to see some development in the coming years. The area is bordered by the Indiana Toll Road, C.R. 6, C.R. 10 and the John Weaver Parkway.
Including the area in a tax increment finance district would allow the county to take some of the increased tax value of the improved land and use it for planned projects near the district like the improvement of C.R. 6. Adding more lanes to C.R. 6 is in the county highway department’s 10-year plan and is estimated to cost at least $9 million to $10 million.
The commission had to act soon for several reasons, one being that the city of Elkhart has plans to annex the land, which would make it ineligible for inclusion in a county TIF. They had the choice of including the area in either the Northwest Gateway or the C.R. 6 and 17 Northeast district.
The fund for the Northwest TIF, which is centered on Old U.S. 20 at Ash Road, has about $950,000 in it. The Northeast TIF, which is largely centered on C.R. 6 at C.R. 17, has more than $7.2 million in its fund currently.
After debating the merits of the two, the majority of RDC members indicated Thursday they would like to see the area included in the Northwest TIF. They directed board attorney Craig Buche to start the process for expanding the TIF and for taking out a bond issue which could fund projects and be repaid by TIF funds.