Another tool may be added to the toolbox for redevelopment efforts in downtown Beaver Dam.
The Community Development Committee will ask the Beaver Dam City Council to approve spending around $25,000 from the tax incremental finance (TIF) district that encompasses the downtown to make grants for façade improvements in downtown Beaver Dam.
The district will not have any funds available until 2013 and the format of the grant program has yet to be determined. But during the meeting Tuesday, the CDC decided a grant program would be more manageable and effective than a loan program.
Trent Campbell, executive director of the Beaver Dam Area Development Corp., advised that administering a loan program for small loans would be time consuming and costly. CDC member Brad Kulka, who works with energy savings programs through his employer, said that in his experience grant programs are more effective than loan programs.
Guidelines being considered for the program would most likely require the grant recipient to provide the bulk of the funds for any improvements and limit how much the TIF district would grant to an individual project.
Mayor Tom Kennedy also asked that the TIF funds not be limited to façade improvements.
CDC member Mick Fischer asked why the city should be in a hurry to designate the funds. He said it might be prudent to sit on the money.
Committee chair Robert Ballweg said the purpose was to get council approval of establishing a program for improvements. The resolution going to the city council also specifies that grant program guidelines would have to be approved by the council prior to the program being established.
“I think we have some momentum no building on the downtown revitalization,” CDC member Lisa Davidson said. “I think we would be missing an opportunity if we don’t seize on this.”
The motion to pass the resolution to the council was approved 4 to 1 with Fischer voting against.
In other business, the committee agreed it would look further at possibly blending TIF 3 and TIF 6 funds for the purpose of eliminating blight in TIF 6. The move could potentially free up $1 million for blight elimination in TIF 6, which includes the downtown area.