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BDC – Bozeman commission approves bonds for improving Midtown

Bozeman has been focusing on improving the Midtown area around N 7th for some time to welcome visitors and community members alike to linger and live.

Bozeman commission approves bonds for improving Midtown
By Shaylee Ragar Chronicle Staff Writer Jul 7, 2020

Bozeman city commissioners approved selling $6.7 million in bonds Monday to help pay for public works projects along North Seventh Avenue and North Fifth Avenue.

The projects will include installing wide sidewalks, trees and new lights on North Seventh between Mendenhall Street and Durston Road. There will be improvements made to Aspen Street and North Fifth Avenue to add sidewalks, trees, lights, pedestrian crossings and angle parking adjacent to the Westlake BMX Park. A new multi-use path will connect Aspen and North Fifth Avenue to a path on Oak Street. North Fifth will also get a new sewer line.

The projects are estimated to cost about $6.8 million.

The city will use revenue from the Midtown tax increment financing (TIF) district to make bond payments, which are projected to cost roughly $408,000 per year, beginning next July. The TIF has plenty of coverage for payments, according to Kristen Donald, city finance director. The bonds will be issued on July 9 by underwriter Stifel, Nicolaus & Company.

The TIF reallocates money from property taxes to support investment within the Midtown Urban Renewal District that encompasses the area around North Seventh Avenue.

Donald said the city was able to secure a “great” sale because the TIF district has a good bond rating and solid revenue. She said work on the projects will begin soon.

“You’ll be seeing changes in the next couple of months,” Donald said

The four projects were approved by the commission in February. They’re the latest developments in the city’s effort to revive and redevelop North Seventh Avenue. The projects have been in the works for some time and were outlined in the 2006 Design and Connectivity Plan for the North Seventh Corridor, the 2015 Midtown Urban Renewal Plan and the 2017 Midtown Action Plan.

David Fine, city urban renewal program manager, said in an email the purpose of the TIF is to pay for improvement projects that incentivize redevelopment in the area and subsequently increase overall taxable values “for the long-term benefit of taxpayers.”

“These projects make concrete a vision for the Midtown area first articulated in 2006 with the creation of the urban renewal district,” Fine said in the email.

The commission approved the bond sale unanimously. Commissioner Terry Cunningham said the projects will make the district a place businesses want to be.

“In a TIF District, what we’re doing is economic gardening … we’re setting the stage for future growth,” Cunningham said.

Source: Bozeman commission approves bonds for improving Midtown