Springfield has completed the land assembly process for new development in the riverfront area of Glenwood, according to Economic Development Manager, Allie Camp. In combination with private and public sector partners, the group now controls about 30 acres in the northeast corner of Glenwood and has begun the Master Planning process which will give increased definition to the goals set out in the Glenwood Refinement Plan, she said. That process is expected to take about 18 months. Glenwood, which is an urban renewal area, and the Downtown Urban Renewal Area, which extends to 23rd Street, are the two focus areas for near term economic development. To see the slide presentation at the August 17 City Club, click: Slides. To view the entire program on You Tube, click: August 17 presentation.
Longer term areas of interest include both the North Gateway area, and the region south of 298th Street near the Springfield Mill Race, which were recently brought within the Urban Growth Boundary. Those areas, however, require additional planning work before they can be available for future development. Those efforts are important, however, she said, since at present the City has very few large areas of commercial or industrial buildable land. Right now, she added, most commercial or industrial buildable land is concentrated in very small parcels.
One unfortunate development is the decision to revisit the proposed Blue McKenzie development, which the Springfield Economic Development Agency decided, in June, will not move forward as previously envisioned. SEDA will continue to search for suitable opportunities to bring more housing to downtown. Most of the area of the Downtown Urban Renewal Plan is zoned community commercial, is a very flexible zoning standard. Thus, she said, while other factors may exist to keep property owners from moving to develp0, the question of zoning is not one.
In Glenwood, while not within the master plan area, phase II of the Franklin Boulevard project, which proposes improvements to that street from the west of the current improvements in the direction of the City limits, has reach the 60 percent design level and now awaits efforts to secure additional funding to move it toward completion of design and construction. In response to a question, she said that the residential area of Glenwood, south of Franklin Boulevard, is not part of current development efforts. She reported that the Glenwood Transfer Station is the subject of discussion at the Lane County Board of Commissioners, and that the City is following those discussions closely to see how any action might enhance further Glenwood development.
Describing the City’s economic development program in general, Ms. Camp pointed to three areas. One important aspect of the program is the legislative effort led by Sam Kelly-Quattrocchi, the City’s Legislative and Economic Development Analyst. The aspect addresses both State and federal legislative efforts to secure additional funding for activities which support economic development.
Vahana Horn is the Economic Development Officer and the Property Manager for the City of Springfield. Her economic lens is focused on local and small business, with her concentration area being on the ever-changing landscape of Downtown Springfield. She maintains coinciding Discover Downtown Springfield websites and Facebook pages and leads quarterly business meetups.
The financial engine that drives economic development in the Glenwood and Downtown areas is the ability to use tax increment financing to support development. In both urban renewal areas the tax base was frozen at the time of creation of the urban renewal district and any additional property tax revenue generated is available to SEDA to support economic development activities. The two major uses of that funding are to support debt service which allows the agency to raise capital funds and the use of the tax increment revenue to pay for local systems development charges imposed by the City in the urban renewal areas to reduce the cost of development.