The meeting begins at 6 p.m., and we’re going to attempt to live stream it for those of you who won’t be able to make it (link coming soon). We will also podcast afterward, so check the blog later this evening.
The purpose of tonight’s meeting is twofold, says Charles Brideau in the city’s housing/community services department:
1) The city will explain the eligible uses for a Section 108 HUD loan and obtain feedback from citizens on what the city’s priority should be (infrastructure, demolition) when applying for and obtaining these types of loans all across the city. There will be a question and answer session at the end of the meeting, as well as documents passed out for written feedback.
2) The city will explain how city council has chosen to use Section 108 funds, which is to provide financing for projects that are going to provide affordable housing or job creation (the latter but not the former applies in the case of the Lake Highlands Town Center loan application). Then the city will ask for input on how this loan in particular would be used, which is for vertial construction of a commercial garage and buildings at at the Town Center.
After the city’s presentation, Town Center developer Prescott Realty will speak about the development.
The meeting is at the Audelia Road Library auditorium, which will hold somewhere in the range of 30-50 people, Brideau says. Usually at these types of hearings, fewer than 10 people turn out, he says.
Brideau says city staff will stay tonight until all of neighbors’ questions are answered, even if Prescott executives have to leave early.
To apply for and obtain this kind of HUD loan, the city is required to hold two public hearings because, as we mentioned in a previous post, the loan would be a $13.35 million addition to the city’s budget, and the city is on the hook to pay back the loan if something goes wrong with the development. Both public hearings are open to the entire general public, Brideau says (the second will be at the Jan. 25 city council meeting) as all taxpayers would be repaying the loan if Town Center property values don’t increase enough to generate $13.35 million (plus loan interest) in TIF revenue.
The reason the city holds one of the meetings in the particular neighborhood that a loan would impact is because “if you have two bites at the apple,” Brideau says, your best chance of getting input is talking to people who live right around the project.