APPLETON — City leaders are betting on one of their favorite development tools to help them reel in building projects to the riverfront.
The new boundary would absorb an area, once occupied by the defunct Riverside paper mill, on the south side extending to the Oneida Skyline Bridge and take in the Eagle Flats residential/commercial development.
The Common Council studies and acts on the recommendation next month.
“The vision is really to start to turn that into a neighborhood,” Mayor Tim Hanna said.
As part of that package, the commission last Tuesday approved the rezoning request from CBC Coating for a 10-acre parcel in the 800 block of S. Lawe Street. It seeks to redevelop the Riverside paper mill into a housing and commercial facility, with focuses on assisted living and senior housing.
The TIF, which captures property tax revenues, would help pay for improvements.
The city has not programmed infrastructure or development projects in the 2011 budget.
Ald. Joe Martin, the council president and a proponent of the proposal to expand the district, expressed confidence more activity would come to the area by the second quarter of the year.
“Once we get (this) on the council floor, they’re going to start taking down Riverside paper,” said Martin, eyeing Dec. 15.
Hanna tried to pre-empt critics of the financing tool. He said the city’s risk has been minimized by changing rules three years ago.
“The developer borrows the money, but we pledge (a portion of) the tax on the increment to help the developer pay off what they’ve borrowed or what they owe,” he said.
The base value of the district is estimated at $6.3 million and $775,000 could be added next year and $9.8 million in 2012, according to an economic feasibility study.
Martin touted some of the features.
Property owners, he said, could receive grants of up to $10,000 to refurbish their buildings.
Other irons are in the fire.
On the west bank, PHP Project Development wants to build an $8 million, eight-unit condominium complex. The 8-acre site was occupied by Foremost Farms USA.
To the north is the proposed RiverHeath, a $55 million housing and commercial venture on 15 acres. The project is in part backed by federal funding and outside investors.
City leaders are counting on the Fox River to make things happen in the district.
“When it’s done, it’s going to be beautiful. I’m excited,” Martin said. “People are drawn to the river.”