City push

7/10/2013

Being aggressive pays off in terms of retail growth.

Being aggressive pays off in terms of retail growth.

Details of one of the more talked about developments in years continue to emerge.

During last week's Garden City Commission meeting, the public learned a bit more about the Schulman Crossing retail development that already has delivered a new, 162,000-square-foot Menards store (Phase I of the project.)

Phase II would be bigger in size in a roughly $24.65 million project that will add 241,000 square feet of retail space just north of Menards, with a mix of national-level retail stores and restaurants, according to the project plan.

Commissioners were told names of retailers planned for the location could be made public as soon as August, with construction by mid-September.

Meanwhile, other details and requirements remain to be ironed out.

The plan to support the retail development has involved tax-increment financing (TIF), a method of public financing used for infrastructure and other community projects. TIF deals essentially allow governments to effectively freeze property tax payments on a site for a certain number of years, and use taxes generated by improvements to pay for development-related costs, usually infrastructure improvements such as water, sewer, sidewalks and streets.

The city has set an Aug. 6 public hearing regarding the TIF district planned for Phase II.

Even though what's going on in Garden City has become the kind of development coveted by many area communities and others throughout the nation, we still would expect skeptics to question the benefit of public financing and other incentives, and whether they outweigh the cost with retail ventures.

They should acknowledge that a number of benefits would materialize, as Garden City could bank on a boost in sales-tax revenue for local services and improvements, and new jobs with the retail surge.

This community has cause to be aggressive in improving its position as a regional destination — especially as other area towns offer incentives to land the same kind of growth.

Local residents also will see how having access to more new places for shopping, dining and entertainment will be another benefit in a community doing its best to give people a variety of reasons to visit and stay.

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