Council approves TID amendment, survey

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By Steve Van Kooten


From a bird’s eye view, the land across from the former Blackhawk Junction Mall, northwest of the Blackhawk Apartments appeared to be an empty plot, bereft of any noteworthy features. But, the parcel occupied most of the Common Council’s attention during their meeting on Aug. 15.

The Council convened at the City Hall to review proposals to amend acquired property to a tax incremental district (TID) as well as surveys to the area in preparation for a development in the area.

The properties, designated to 679 E. Blackhawk Ave. in Prairie du Chien, encompass 3.28 acres of land owned by the city. Estimated value of the two properties is variably listed between $130,000-$200,000. The properties are listed for R-3 zoning (residential properties, multi-family homes, day cares, etc.).

The council reviewed a proposed amendment to the TID No. 8, which would be accomplished with Vierbicher Associates, Inc., a community development and engineering consultant group. Kurt Muchow, Community Development Consultant, appeared remotely to explain the process.

According to Muchow, TID No. 8 was created in 2021 to redevelopment the Blackhawk Junction area. Vierbicher would assist in the execution of a blight determination and the amendment to the TID. The process, considered a blight elimination, required more than 50 percent of the proposed area to be considered blighted and parcels added must also be considered blighted.

“There was a dilapidated house on the property that has already been demolished,” Muchow said. “We specifically identified that as a blight condition.”

According to Vierbicher’s 2023 Public Funding Opportunities Bulletin, a blight elimination is considered a category of tax incremental financing (TIF) that lasts 27 years with an expenditure period of 22 years. There is an option for a 3 year extension.

Muchow noted the property had certain requirements for blight TID funding: the area could not be determined to be a “newly-plotted residential development.” 

Muchow said, “There’s no re-zoning involved or re-plotting involved.” The Department of Revenue did not consider the area as newly-plotted either.

Vierbicher’s services were mapped out by Muchow during the meeting, with an estimated timeframe of 3 months for both the blight determination and the TID amendment. In a Summary of Activities and Timetable dated Aug. 9, 2023, the Common Council is Projected to approve a blight determination on Sept. 9, 2023, and the amendment on Oct. 23, 2023, before the information is submitted to the Wisconsin Department of Revenue (WDOR) by Dec. 31, 2023.

“Between the months of September and October, most of the work will be done, and it’ll be finished up by November,” Muchow said. After Nov. 16, the only steps expected to remain are the notification of TID creation and submission of documents to WDOR.

Muchow stated the costs were estimated at $2,500 for a blight determination and $10,000 for the TID amendment, and the expenses were considered TIF eligible. Muchow also noted the incremental value of TID No. 8 had increased “more than $5.2 million.” 

The Council approved the agreement with Vierbicher Associates to pursue the amendment.


Other News:

- Council approved Pam Kiesau to the Common Council to replace Nate Gilberts as Alderperson at Large. Pam was assigned to the Public Works Committee.

- Abram reported tree planting was “as scheduled” and progress would be completed after the Carriage Classic, held on Sept. 8-10.

- Council approved an archeological study for the area designated as “behind the Blackhawk Apartments at 679 E. Blackhawk Ave.” In a note submitted on Aug. 2, 2023, by Nate Gilberts, Prairie du Chien City Planner, Gilberts stated the study was a need. A quote given by the Mississippi Valley Archeological Center estimated costs at $3,461.61 for the survey. Gilberts recommended approval of the quote given in his memo.

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