Eugene moves on redevelopment

The Eugene City Council advances a $21.7 million plan for downtown redevelopment.

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The Eugene City Council voted 6-2 to devote $21.7 million to a downtown redevelopment plan. The council will have a public hearing on the plan in April before a final council vote in May.

The vote is a move toward changing the city’s urban renewal district plan to accommodate projects like Lane Community College’s downtown campus, improvements for the Lane County Farmers’ Market and increased public safety.

But the plan relies on tax increment financing, a funding method that can be controversial. The method diverts property taxes from local governments, including schools, and allows the city to use the money downtown. Schools, however, are compensated for nearly all the losses by state funding.

The new plan would raise $8 million to help LCC construct an 80,000-square-foot building on the excavated pit and parking lot on West 10th Avenue, near the public library; $4.8 million to pay off debt on the Broadway Place parking garages, which would free funds that the city could use to hire police officers for downtown; $2.5 million for the city to help lure a VA medical clinic to what is now the PeaceHealth medical clinic south of 11th Avenue and Willamette Street; and $500,000 in Park Blocks improvements for the benefit of the Farmers’ Market.

Read the full story at The Register-Guard.

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