Deal pledges tax revenue to Holcomb retail project




HOLCOMB — During its Wednesday meeting, the Holcomb City Council approved a contract with Finney County and Garden City Community College that pledges tax revenues toward the development of the Holcomb Plaza retail project.

The contract still needs to be signed by the county commission and community college board of trustees. Legal counsels for both are reviewing the contract.

The first phase of the project will include a hotel, a restaurant and a gas station/convenience store on property located near the intersection of Big Lowe and Jones roads in Holcomb, near the exit of U.S. Highway 50.

Choice Hotels, which includes several hotel brands, such as Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, Clarion and Sleep Inn, has submitted a letter of intent to build a hotel in Holcomb.

Other parts of the development are generally anticipated to include a restaurant, commercial retail businesses, a truck stop/wash, storage units and other light industrial uses subject to zoning approval.

The contract between the three taxing entities includes a Community Incentive District, a 1 percent additional sales tax on purchases within the CID, around the property, and a modified tax increment financing agreement in which each entity pledges incremental property taxes generated by the new development back to the project for 22 years.

The developer will use new taxes generated by the development to help pay for infrastructure such as new streets, lighting, sidewalks, landscaping and water service.

Holcomb Mayor Gary Newman praised the efforts of Lona DuVall, Finney County Economic Development Corp. president, for the work she and the FCEDC have done over the past two years on the Holcomb Plaza project.

Newman also said DuVall should be commended for the insight she had in seeing the economic benefit potential of the area around the stop light at the Big Lowe intersection.

"There's been a lot of work. I think it continues to pay off," Newman said. "We've been fortunate to get the cooperation we've gotten."

DuVall said Holcomb has a great opportunity in front of it, and it will be exciting to see what happens as the development grows and brings in more revenue to the community. She also thanked the council for all the questions it asked throughout the process, which helped make the project better.

Tom Walker, FCEDC chairman, said economic development is not something that happens overnight. It takes a lot of time to recruit and build businesses.

"In the past two years, with Lona's work, we have got more activity and more real prospects and good things that are going to happen in the very near future," Walker said.

In other business Wednesday:

* The council approved a request to close Wiley Street on June 8 for the 5th Annual Longhorn Stampede, a fundraising event for the Holcomb High School cross country team that includes a 5K, 10K and Kids Run. The event generally attracts 125 to 150 participants and another 30 to 40 spectators and helpers.

* The council approved the following annual mayoral appointments: Bill Knight, fire chief; Tony Forsen, police chief; Robin Pena, city clerk; Tyra Haar, deputy clerk; Gene Gaede, municipal court judge; Bill Heydman, city attorney; Pete Earles, city engineer; First National Bank of Holcomb, official depository of city funds; and The Garden City Telegram, official city newspaper.

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