Rocky Fork Enterprise

Council mulls TIF district for Hamilton Road

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Gahanna City Council is considering a tax-increment-financing district to fund public investments for the Hamilton Road corridor.

Development director Anthony Jones said the corridor is one of the major entryways into Gahanna and is traveled by thousands of vehicles daily.

The TIF district would be north of the I-270 intersection along South Hamilton Road, including intersecting streets, up to Clark State Road.

Over the past several years, Jones said, the city has invested in infrastructure upgrades to support the growth of the Hamilton Road corridor as a mixed-use commerce hub that serves the civic, educational and business needs of Gahanna's residents and visitors.

He said the Hamilton Road corridor TIF district would be in conjunction with the establishment of the Hamilton Road corridor land-use plan, which is a market-based, land-use plan that documents the community's desired development pattern for the corridor and guides future investments in the area.

The Hamilton Road corridor plan still is being finalized.

Jones said the city has seen a significant amount of private investment recently within the Hamilton Road corridor that makes it advantageous for the creation of a TIF district at this time.

In 2012, Jones said, the Commons at Clark Hall, Firehouse Subs, Huntington Bank, Tim Hortons and Burger King were initiated in the corridor that had a total investment of about $8 million.

Based on those market trends, he said, planning and development staffers recommend the TIF because of the potential for continued redevelopment within the corridor and future infrastructure needs.

Those future infrastructure needs include but aren't limited to intersection improvements at Gary Lee Drive and Rocky Fork South, sign and roadway improvements along the South Hamilton Road entryway, improvements along Morrison Road, the creation and construction of roadway improvement plans along South Hamilton Road and Morrison Road, and improvements to the I-270-South Hamilton Road bridge.

The TIF would capture a portion of the property taxes generated from development within the Hamilton Road corridor, known as payments in lieu of taxes (PILOTS).

Jones said the PILOTS would be collected by the city to pay for the necessary infrastructure costs within the corridor. He said the Gahanna-Jefferson Public School District and the Eastland-Fairfield Career & Technical Schools would not be affected by the creation of the TIF district that would be in place for 30 years.

During a recent council committee meeting, councilwoman Karen Angelou asked what would develop with the plan.

Jones said the plan would make it more corridor-friendly at intersections with improved lighting and signage, leading to an aesthetically pleasing entrance to the city.

"The first impression we want people to have is that we take pride," he said.

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