Benefiting the Community
Benefiting the Community.
Every EURA redevelopment project undertaken has a positive impact on the community. Besides the elimination of blight, which is EURA’s mission and primary reason for investing public funds in a redevelopment effort, redevelopment brings a variety of benefits to the Eagle community and especially to the neighborhoods in which a project is undertaken. Since not all projects are the same, nor do they have the same blighting influences, the measure of success will vary from project area to project area. But redevelopment must serve a public purpose to warrant the investment of public funds.
Following are some of the benefits, both tangible and intangible, that result from urban renewal:
Elimination of blight. The state law authorizing urban renewal authorities was passed to address a very specific problem—blighted areas. The elimination of blight is considered a public purpose under state law, justifying the expenditure of public funds. Elimination of blight is the key public benefit of urban renewal.
Creation of new sources of tax revenue. Redevelopment puts non-producing or under-producing properties back on the tax rolls. Initially, the incremental taxes created by the redevelopment area are used to help fill the gap between private financing and the total cost of a redevelopment project, including infrastructure, affordable housing and other amenities for the public good. No existing taxes are used during the redevelopment, but once the incremental taxes generated have paid for the gap in financing, typically over a period of not more than 20 years, the local taxing entities have new, permanent sources of revenue that wouldn’t have existed if the project hadn’t been undertaken.
Creation of jobs. Redevelopment creates new jobs, both temporary jobs during the construction phase and permanent jobs once a project is complete. These jobs range from entry level service jobs to higher paying management jobs.
Public infrastructure, facilities and parks. TIF revenues must be used for a public purpose, frequently infrastructure improvements associated with the redevelopment. These include construction and/or reconstruction of streets, curbs, gutters, sidewalks and streetscape; water and sewer systems; fiber, irrigation, storm drainage, and removal of hazardous materials or conditions. TIF revenues might also be used to build parks and other facilities, such as; a public parking garage.
Improved quality of life. Although difficult to measure, there are many intangible benefits of redevelopment that can positively impact quality of life for those living and working nearby. Redevelopment projects can allow residents to live near where they work, spending less time commuting to jobs and shopping. Increased activity in the area can help reduce the crime rate, making an area safer than it was before redevelopment. And, redevelopment can improve the beauty of an area, making it more desirable and helping boost property values.
Reduction of pollution/environmental contamination. In older areas, serious environmental contamination makes redevelopment cost-prohibitive for developers. Often it is easier for a developer to buy clean land than to pay for cleanup of a contaminated site. With EURA’s assistance, these brownfield sites can be cleaned up and returned to productive use.
Redevelopment also can lead to reduced air pollution if the project includes a pedestrian orientation and is designed around existing transit stations. Because residents can live, shop and socialize in their immediate neighborhoods, or take public transportation to other parts of the city, dependence on the automobile is reduced. Transit-oriented development/redevelopment also reduces traffic congestion.
Prevention of urban sprawl. Redevelopment provides an alternative to urban sprawl by allowing infill development and adaptive reuse of inner city sites that have ceased to function in the use for which they were intended. Many EURA projects are within walking distance of the downtown or are in downtown, have street-level uses that generate pedestrian activity, and may be higher density than other areas within Eagle. These are all characteristics of the “smart growth” movement embraced by many cities to help prevent urban sprawl.
Historic preservation. Redevelopment efforts can contribute towards preserving historic buildings/structures within the district. The willingness of visionary developers to reuse older buildings, combined with the financial incentives that make such redevelopment feasible, helps cities preserve its heritage for future generations to enjoy and appreciate.