Zionsville Community Schools and the Town of Zionsville are moving forward on a unique partnership to create economic development opportunities and reduce the community’s residential tax burden, while creating a new revenue source for reducing the school district’s debt.
Pending approval by the Zionsville Redevelopment Commission, ZCS will use funds remaining from a 2005 bond issue, as well as interest and project savings, to purchase approximately 126 acres of land on 106th St. Parkway east of Zionsville Road from Dow Chemical Company for $5.7 million.
“This partnership is a creative way to benefit taxpayers while expanding assessed valuation by creating a market-ready economic development opportunity,” said Dax Norton, executive director of the Boone County Economic Development Commission.
The school district will keep approximately 10 acres to build a warehouse and maintenance facility on the property. The Town of Zionsville will take title to the remaining property, install infrastructure and subdivide it for commercial development. Dow Chemical was unwilling to subdivide the tract into smaller parcels, which made the property’s purchase, outside a governmental partnership, too costly.
“The Town will gain control of prime real estate for economic development,” said Tim Haak, Zionsville Town Council president. “New development on this land will increase the Town’s tax base, lowering tax rates and minimizing tax cap losses for all local government entities. New economic investment creates more local jobs and benefits existing local businesses and all taxpayers.”
Haak and RDC president Mike Latz indicated a number of businesses had expressed interest in the Dow property in recent years. None chose to do so, however, because the property was too costly as a single parcel.
The funds earmarked for the venture can only be used for the purpose for which they were originally intended and have been held in savings since the bond issue. The project had been deferred until economic conditions improved and a suitable site was found.
“It is a unique opportunity,” said Scott Robison, ZCS superintendent. “The revenue from the Town’s installment payments through 2028 creates a new revenue stream for Zionsville Community Schools. Either these funds lay dormant until a bond refinancing is possible in 2015, or they simultaneously locate the needed warehouse/maintenance facility and aid the Town’s efforts in commercial development. The resulting assessed valuation expansion will help all taxpayers for decades to come.”
Because net costs of this land acquisition and development will be paid with future property tax revenues from the new businesses locating on the property through Tax Increment Financing (TIF), developing the property will not be paid for by current taxpayers.