Thursday, July 17, 2003

Mason makes plans to spend tax-district $$



By Erica Solvig
The Cincinnati Enquirer

MASON - The recently approved tax increment financing district along the Interstate 71 corridor could finance a full interchange at Western Row Road.

The 2,073-acre district, approved by City Council this week, extends north of Kings Mills Road and south to portions of Western Row and Socialville-Fosters roads. It includes corporate, industrial and high-tech properties, said Michele Blair, the city's economic development director.

The economic development tool uses property tax revenues to help pay for infrastructure projects.

"It's a fairly large TIF, but not unusually large," Blair said. "This is simply a planning tool. We're looking for undeveloped, industrial-zoned property."

The northern section includes land near The Beach water park, where Glimcher Realty Trust has expressed interest in putting a large mall and a plaza of big-box discount retailers. No official plans have been submitted.

"We do foresee a development of some sort," Blair said of the property. "If that does occur, that development would help fund that infrastructure."

Among the projects the city would like to fund: a full highway interchange at the Western Row exit near Paramount's Kings Island. I-71 motorists now can exit only from the northbound lanes, and can get on the highway only by heading south.

Additional approval would be needed for such a project.

Because the property in the district lies in both the Mason and Kings school districts, those school boards also have approved the district.

This is not the first time the city has used such a district in economic development planning. It also was used with Central Parke on Mason-Montgomery Road, J.W. Harris campus on U.S. 42 and the Mason Enterprise Park on Ohio 741.

E-mail esolvig@enquirer.com




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