Thursday, February 8, 2007

Steelyard Commons: Tax Money Trouble In Paradise?

While everyone basks in the glow of the new Steelyard Commons, a glitch has been discovered. Susan Vinella reports in the Plain Dealer this morning that the tax monies Cleveland was expecting from Steelyard Commons may not be there after all, at least for the next ten years. When you participate in Brownfield Remediation of a site, the State of Ohio allows you to receive a tax break for doing so. It's not that this is a bad thing, but my immediate reaction is, how could our City Government not know this ahead of time when they are formalizing agreements to plan development projects? According to the PD article, Mitchell Schneider, the projects developer is working with the City to try to get some of the tax monies to the City. But many of the stores (Target, Walmart) are already on board with the abatement available to them. By the way, this money was earmarked for continued improvements to the Towpath and Bike Paths, among other things.

I guess this adds to the discussion about the value of tax abatement to cities like Cleveland. In this case, brownfield remediation would be a smart reason to allow them. It amazes me that Cleveland could be blindsided in this way. I'm a layperson and if I am aware of tax abatement available for remediation then why would those hired to work on City Planning not be more aware? Shouldn't this have been part of the negotiations up front? Again according to the Vinella article, Cleveland claims to have discovered the loopholes/ramifications of this issue 'late last year.' That means just a few months before Steelyard Commons is ready for business?
Peace Out - 3C


Mitchell Hall said...

Hi Carole, Brownfield site? Is that a nice way of saying building homes on an industrial or toxic site. I think all of New Jersey is on a Brownfield.

Cleveland Carole Cohen 3C said...

Hi Mitchell, yes I guess it is. The remediation means a certain amount of clean up is involved to make it safer. (lol, hopefully!) And in this case, it was industrial, yes. I imagine most of NJ got built up before they were doing remediation. Sounds intriguing though I'm going to have to read up on it.