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Clare approves LDFA for new industrial park

By Pat Maurer
Correspondent

The Clare City Commission approved three resolutions related to the development of the new Clare Industrial Park North at Monday’s meeting.

Commissioners passed a Resolution of Intent to establish a Local Development Financing Authority (LDFA) to capture taxes on improvements in the new park. Funds will facilitate economic development in the park, City Manager Ken Hibl reported.

This was the first step in the development of the LDFA. Next a public hearing on the matter will set for public comment.

The City intends to bond a portion, approximately $1.1 million of the infrastructure costs for the development of the new park. The LDFA will be used for repayment of the bonds.

The City was notified last fall that an Economic Development Administration (EDA) grant had been awarded to the city totaling $2,680,860 towards the estimated $4,468,100 cost of building a new water tower and developing infrastructure (sewer and water) on the 60 acres for a new industrial park.

The remainder of the costs, about $1.7 million, would have to be paid with city funds. Of that amount the city has about $700,000 available and will borrow the remaining $1.1 million through a bond issue. The Northern Group donated the sixty acres earmarked for the Clare Industrial Park North to the City earlier this fall.

Consumers Energy has already purchased twenty acres of the new Industrial Park and is planning to build a $3 to $4 million service center in the park, closing its facility downtown.

The purchase of the property plus city property and personal taxes captured through a tax-increment financing program would pay back the bond issue payments for the next ten years, said City Treasurer Steve Kingsbury last October. “Consumer’s tax revenue will pay about two-thirds of the money needed up there,” he said.

After a Public Hearing March 3, Clare City Commissioners authorized a Community Development Block Grant application which will pay $599,940 of the$2.3  million road project cost. The rest of the funds include a $1.5 million private investment by Northern Logistics during the next two years, $100,000 in local contributions and an $112,000 investment by the City, with those funds including $50,000 from United States Department of Agriculture bonds and $62,000 from existing City street funds.

The next step in the massive project on the north side of the City was an Intergovernmental Agreement with the Clare County Road Commission to assume responsibility of the remaining ¼ mile of Colonville Road between the drive to Northern Logistics and Eberhart Road to allow the City to improve the roadway.

The project to reconstruct nearly a mile of Colonville Road is scheduled to begin this summer, said Clare City Manager Ken Hibl at the March 3rd meeting.

The road improvements will reconstruct and widen the road to three lanes for easier access to the new Industrial Park, which is also scheduled to begin construction this year.

Clare City took over ownership of the rest of Colonville Road from Old US 27 to the Northern Logistics property in January.

Next came approval of a Professional Services Agreement with MidMichigan Community Action Agency. A requirement for submittal of the CDBG is completion of an environmental assessment. A similar requirement was for the Economic Development Grant proposal. That was completed by the MMCAA consultant, and much of the work he did will also be used in the new assessment, reducing the cost of to the City. The cost to the City for the assessment will be $2,500.

For another upcoming City project, MMCAA was also designated Monday as the Depot Contracting Agent to handle all work related to moving and renovating the Clare Railroad Depot that does not include the use of public funds. MMCAA is already the City’s designated fiduciary agent for non-public funds (donations) raised and collected for the depot project.

The Depot is now being prepared and will be moved 600 feet to its new location on April 15.

Other business included:

*The introduction of Parks and Recreation Intern Joy Simmer, who will replace Director Amanda Theunick while she is on maternity leave beginning in late March or early April.

* Approval of the application to designate downtown Clare on the National Register of Historic Places. The 96-page application was completed over a five year period by Ken Linguar of Clare and an Eastern Michigan University student, who completed it as part of the thesis.

*A first reading was held on the proposed amendment to the City’s animal ordinance.

*Approval of a request increasing compensation for Treasurer Steve Kingsbury while he fills in as acting City Manager.

*The re-appointment for three years of Mary Ann Shurlow, Don Chiodo, Tom Koch and Denny Sian to the Downtown Development Authority.

*the appointment of Matt Miller to the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board.

*Approval of a Department of Natural Resources Trust Fund Grant.

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