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City proposes Urban Renewal District in hopes to attract businesses

City proposes urban renewal district

POCATELLO, Idaho - It's where the sidewalk ends and the interstate begins which is creating a challenge for the city of Pocatello.

So the city is proposing the creation of a new Urban Renewal District, or Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District in order to show-off the assets Pocatello has to offer for big businesses to come in and set up shop south of town.

When new visitors to the community pull off of the 5th Street exit, the first things they see are broken-down and abandoned buildings, empty fields that have been taken-over by weeds and dead grass, and sidewalks that break-off, leading to nowhere.

Mayor Brian Blad said the district will have the opportunity to reimburse companies the money they spend in utilities such as: water, sewer, roads, sidewalks, etc.

"Anytime you have a large company looking at an area, they are going to ask you what incentives you have," Blad said. "We are hoping with this movement they will see the city is committed in helping them get here and any other economic development opportunity for that matter."

Blad said a company based out of Germany has already voiced strong interest in moving into the south end of town, with the prospect of bringing a $45 million initial investment into the community.

The district's goal would then attract businesses such as this one by offering to pay a portion of their initial expenses when they move in, and will later collect money from the taxes those companies pay.

Blad said the district has specifications as to what it can and can't do with that money, meaning that money will go back into economic development efforts within the city.

Bannock Development Corporation director John Regetz said it's crucial our community takes advantage of the resources we have to offer, because if we don't, we could experience blight.

Blight occurs when we have under employment in real estate and resources in the area and that will cause a trend in the negative direction, which is hard to recover from.

"If we have services there and a good appearance, then people get a positive impression of our community in Pocatello and Chubbuck and we want to create the best impression we can to develop that area to its full potential," Regetz said.

He also said the community has the potential to attract: commercial, light industrial, retail, and recreational businesses on the south end of town.

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