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The 100-acre development dubbed The Ridge at Ward Branch was announced two years ago.
SBJ file rendering
The 100-acre development dubbed The Ridge at Ward Branch was announced two years ago.

Council hears slew of CID proposals

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Early this morning, Springfield City Council heard several proposals for establishing community improvement districts throughout the city.

The public hearing of the proposals came after council members heard over four hours of public comment from residents regarding a face mask ordinance, which council ultimately adopted yesterday as the midnight hour neared.

City Director of Economic Development Sarah Kerner presented the three proposals to council, comprising requests to establish CIDs near Glenstone Avenue and Kearney Street, along South West Bypass and near The Library Center where The Ridge at Ward Branch development is planned.

Gov. Mike Parson is expected to sign or veto a bill today that would require a vote of a municipality for CIDs beginning Aug. 28, rather than a vote by those in the district area. Kerner said city staff hopes council will approve the proposals at the July 27 meeting so that the applicants can hold their respective elections before the end of August.

The Ridge at Ward Farm CID proposal comes after development group RW Developments LLC sought tax increment financing assistance for roads and infrastructure at the 100-acre development, according to past Springfield Business Journal reporting. Co-developer Phil Williams previously told SBJ that the process was taking too long.

If approved by council, the CID would be established at the roughly 100 acres bounded by The Library Center and the James River Commons development to the north, West Weaver Road to the south, South Campbell Avenue to the east, and the Quail Creek and Wellington Hills subdivisions to the west. The district would be a political subdivision of the state and would have a life of 40 years, according to the documents. The CID Board of Directors is set to comprise Williams, co-developer Trip Rhoades, Derek Smith, Thomas Jennings Conyers and Dan Coryell, according to the proposal.

If approved by voters, CID officials would be able to impose a sales and use tax of up to 1% on all retail sales made within the district. Plans for the mixed-used development call for commercial space for potential tenants including restaurants, hotels, offices, retail centers and lofts.

If approved, the tax revenues from the CID would be used to fund public improvements necessary to facilitate construction of the development, which could include streets and sidewalks, utilities, stormwater management facilities and landscaping, according to the documents.

Williams said in an interview with SBJ this morning that the project cannot continue without approval of the CID.

“We have quite a bit of infrastructure expense that we're having to put in because of the way the site is accessible and the amount of rock that needs to be removed,” he said. “If we weren't able to get the CID, then this whole project would not be able to happen. We'd have to change course quite a bit and almost sell a piece of the land we have done at this point.”

SBJ recently observed land clearance underway at the site, and Williams previously confirmed infrastructure should be completed in six to eight months, according to past SBJ reporting.

Announced in summer 2018, The Ridge had been marketed as a development that would have an estimated value exceeding $500 million upon completion, with plans calling on residential and commercial spaces.

Kerner also presented a request to council for a blighted CID at 4.5 acres near Kearney Street and Glenstone Avenue. The site, at the southwest corner of the intersection, is where the Springfield Inn is located, according to the documents. If approved, the district would be in place for 30 years. If voters approve the 1% sales and use tax, the revenues would be used to fund the demolition of the hotel, which is expected to cost $550,000, according to the documents.

The other proposal for the what’s dubbed the Kay Pointe Place CID is for roughly 38 acres along South West Bypass. A sales and use tax of up to 1%, if approved by voters, would be used to fund public improvements necessary to build a multifamily residential and commercial development. The public improvements are expected to cost nearly $1.5 million, according to the documents.

Council is scheduled to vote July 27 on the three CID proposals.

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