EDC and Planning and Building Department host informational workshop on TIF Districts

COLUMBIA CITY, Ind. (June 30, 2017) – Local leaders and elected officials recently attended an informational workshop about Tax Increment Finance (TIF) districts, hosted by the Columbia City/Whitley County Joint Planning & Building Department and the Whitley County Economic Development Corporation (EDC).

Nearly 20 elected officials, board members and other community leaders from across the county attended the TIF workshop on Thursday evening. Jennifer Hallowell, director at Faegre Baker Daniels Consulting, and advisor to the Indiana Association of Cities and Towns, shared a presentation on what TIF districts are, how they work and how we can use them for the betterment of our communities.

“TIF is an important and necessary tool for communities to use to redevelop blighted areas and also to attract more private investment and jobs to the area,” Hallowell explained, “By assembling local leaders and community members to engage in the discussion, elected officials, board members and other local leaders are demonstrating why Whitley County has been and will continue to be a leader in the strategic and successful use of TIF to benefit the county,” Hallowell said.

A TIF district serves as a tool for public financing that helps spur economic development. TIF funds are generated from increased local property tax revenue, and those funds are then used for redevelopment, infrastructure and community improvement projects.

“If I could identify one thing that Whitley County has done to create the property and jobs available by our elected officials, to our residents today, it would be the decision that was made to create our first TIF district in 1987,” said EDC President Jon Myers, “Thirty years later, we are reaping the benefits.”

The largest TIF district in Whitley County includes areas such as Gateway Park, Park 30 Business Center to Steel Dynamics, Inc. (SDI) at County Line Road. Other designated TIF districts include Rail Connect Park, and the Columbia City TIF, which spans from East Jefferson Street to Vine Street and North Whitley Street to North Walnut.

County officials first created a TIF district to attract business investment to the community–which benefitted Whitley County when SDI chose to expand its operations in Whitley County. SDI has continued to remain the largest employer and highest tax payer in the county.

“Whitley County and Columbia City have a history of using their TIF districts creatively but responsibly, to achieve employer attraction. As our county grows, continuing this approach will be important in building up the quality of life for our residents and businesses,” said Nathan Bilger, director of the Columbia City/Whitley County Planning and Building Department.

Other examples include more than 800 jobs and $88 million investment in building construction and equipment in Park 30 Business Center since creating the TIF district. TIF money was also used to acquire and tear down the leaning building on West Van Buren Street, to create the Thomas Marshall Plaza pocket park in downtown Columbia City.



About the Columbia City/Whitley County Joint Planning & Building Department

The Columbia City/Whitley County Joint Planning and Building Department provides planning, zoning and building services for all of Whitley County, including the communities of Columbia City, Churubusco, South Whitley and Larwill. The department staff assists both existing and future residents with applications for zoning, variance, and development proposals as well as building permits for dwellings and accessory structures. The developers and development professionals are also provided with information and assistance on requirements and regulations regarding zoning matters and subdivision plats.


About Whitley County EDC
The Whitley County Economic Development Corporation (EDC) is the lead economic development agency in Whitley County, Indiana. The EDC works closely with local, regional, and state partners to support our industry clients’ growth and success. Our mission is to lead a comprehensive economic development program that retains and expands employment opportunities for local residents and attracts business investment to Whitley County. The Whitley County EDC was established in 1992 and represents Whitley County, Columbia City, and the Towns of Churubusco, Larwill, and South Whitley. For more information about the EDC, visit: www.whitleyedc.com.


Media Contact:

Katie Dewitt (Whitley County EDC) – 260.244.5506 kdewitt@whitleyedc.com