City Approves Schlitz Park Upgrades
$875,000 in new TIF spending for safety measures and better RiverWalk access.
Improvements are coming to the downtown RiverWalk as the city moves to fund safety measures and more public access in and around the Schlitz Park business campus.
The Common Council’s committee on Zoning, Neighborhoods & Development (ZND) Tuesday approved an amendment increasing expenditures from Tax Incremental District (TID) 41 to add flashing beacons to pedestrian crossings on bridges along the river and construct a new pedestrian path through the business park linking N. 2nd Street to the riverwalk.
Wednesday, the $875,000 project was approved unanimously by the full Common Council.
Total project costs for the TID since it was created in 2000, including the riverwalk upgrades, are about $58 million. These expenditures helped attract development, including the Time Warner Cable regional headquarters that brought in about 700 jobs, Manpower Group and roughly 1,000 jobs and UMB Fund Services Inc. (about 600 jobs).
$38 million in project costs has already been recovered, and another roughly $21 million is needed to recoup all the project costs associated with the TID. But this TID has 10 more years to go and only needs five more years to break even.
“This is performing well above expectations and continues to improve,” Remington said.
TID 41 also contributed to reconstruction of N. 2nd St. and Galena St. in 2013. Now, with new investment and development on those streets, a new 1,100-foot-long pedestrian pathway through the business park will connect the streets to the river walk.
Of the project’s total cost of $875,000, more than half, or $475,000, will pay for construction of the pathway. The rest will pay for eight flashing beacons on pedestrian crossways at the end of bridges.
The flashing beacons are being installed where regular traffic lights are missing. Remington said studies show the flashing beacons, which alert drivers to a crossing pedestrian, increase the stopping rate of cars from 3 percent to 75 percent.
In other TID news, ZND recently approved closing down TID number 27, also known as the Clarke Square TID.
Until a TID is closed, the property taxes collected within it are spent on improvements in the district. Once closed, the taxes flow in the usual fashion to the city, county, Milwaukee Public Schools, Milwaukee Area Technical College and Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District, all of whom depend on local property taxes. Once TID 27 is closed, $10.4 million of assessed value will then be available to collect property taxes on, which should be in the neighborhood of $260,000 annually, according to David Schroeder of DCD.
Or as Ald. Jim Bohl put it, “More money in the coffers.”