Woodstock mulls increasing redevelopment area
by Michelle Babcock
June 12, 2013 12:00 AM | 1378 views | 0 0 comments | 21 21 recommendations | email to a friend | print
WOODSTOCK — A plan to encourage even more commercial development in the downtown area is now going to the residents of Woodstock for their input.

On Monday the mayor and City Council will have a public hearing regarding an update to the Downtown Woodstock Urban Redevelopment Plan.

Community Development Director Jessica Guinn said expanding the Urban Redevelopment Area would encourage development and allow many more businesses to be eligible for inclusion in the Opportunity Zone, which gives employers a tax break for each person they hire.

“One of the things we’ve discussed as we’ve looked at the Opportunity Zone is that the boundaries are pretty limited and there are a lot of areas we’d like to see redevelopment encouraged,” Guinn said. “We wanted to be sure that we went ahead and expanded the URA boundaries prior to the Opportunity Zone, (because) the only properties that will be eligible to be included in the Opportunity Zone are those properties which are already in our Urban Redevelopment Areas.”

The City Council was asked by the Downtown Development Authority to apply for Woodstock to be an Opportunity Zone in February, which would mean employers can receive a $3,500 tax credit for each employee they hired.

The present Urban Redevelopment Area was adopted in 2009 and includes a stretch of East Main Street, Maple Street, Hickory Street, a square on Mill Street and two streets off of East Main Street, one including The Park at City Center.

A public hearing will be Monday at 7 p.m. at the meeting of the mayor and city council. If approved, the new URA update would more than triple the current area, adding to the URA a stretch of Highway 92 east of Interstate 575, including the Woodstock Place Shopping Center, an area around Parkway 575 and a large area of land off of Ingram Street.

It also would include areas around Main Street, extending south from where the URA zone is downtown, around Main and East Main Street, fill in space not currently designated as URA in downtown, add an area around Towne Lake Parkway and Arnold Mill Road east of I-575, add part of the space between Woodstock Parkway and I-575 and add an area around Bell Parkway and Bell Park Drive in the north part of the city.
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