Hearing Set For Smart Zone District Financing

June 18, 2002
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GRAND RAPIDS — City commissioners Tuesday set Oct. 9 as the date for a public hearing regarding establishment of a Local Development Financing Authority (LDFA) and district for the Grand Rapids Smart Zone.

The LDFA would be authorized to capture property tax growth within zone boundaries for use within the zone and would be similar in operation to the Downtown Development Authority.

The LDFA would be responsible for advising the City Commission on adoption of Smart Zone development plans and budget matters.

Under the Smart Zone program, all local property taxes and up to 50 percent of school operating taxes may be captured for up to 15 years for use in activities such as:

  • Construction of roads, water, sewer and telecommunications infrastructure.

  • Creation and operation of incubators for high-tech companies.

  • Creation of publicly owned, high-tech support facilities such as R&D labs, testing labs, training and telecom centers.

  • Marketing and promotion of Smart Zones.

Smart Zone communities also are eligible to receive Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) Core Communities Fund monies to help get a zone started and tide it over until tax increment revenues begin to materialize.

The local Smart Zone will target the biotechnology industry by encouraging business development related to the Van Andel Institute.

The zone includes the institute, Grand Valley State University’s new Center for Health Professionals, and the North Monroe Business District, which offers potential development sites in close proximity to the institute.

The MEDC selected Grand Rapids this spring as one of 10 of the state’s designated Smart Zones, which are intended to stimulate the growth of technology-based businesses and jobs.

The city, along with the Van Andel Institute, The Right Place Program, Grand Valley State University and Grand Rapids Community College developed the original application for the city’s Smart Zone designation.

If everything goes according to the tentative timetable for LDFA establishment, the authority would capture its first tax increment revenues on July 1 next year.

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