FRANKLIN - The Franklin Common Council has approved further examination of the area near 27th Street and Oakwood Road, the area that could possibly become a new business park.

At the common council meeting earlier this month, the council approved an agreement for engineering services with firm Ruekert and Mielke Inc. The council also authorized Ehlers and Associates, the city's financial advisor, to conduct a review of an Interstate Partners project to see if the project is eligible for funding from Tax Increment District 4.

Interstate Partners has proposed a possible industrial development and is requesting financial assistance from the city. Ehlers will assess the need for tax increment financing district support and provide insight in negotiating a potential development agreement between the city and the developer.

The area by Oakwood and 27th Street is a part of tax increment district (TID) 4. A TIF district is a system set up to allow the city to retain a higher percentage of the taxes generated from new development within the district and use the funds collected to pay infrastructure costs or other up-front costs of development.

Ruekert and Mielke will conduct a floodplain analysis and storm water management analysis for the area, also funded by TID 4.

The company previously worked on engineering and cost projections for running sewer and water connections in the area. However, the common council has not yet voted on the decision to run sewer and water.

Through these actions, Franklin hopes to set the stage for more developers to see the area as a place to build their businesses.

“We need to be prepared to use the TIF as an economic tool, which is what I’ve been talking about over and over again,” said Alderman Steve Taylor. “I’m still adamant that I’m not going to vote on putting in roads and storm water management and street lighting, but I supported the rezoning; I’ll support if it physically works to run sewer and water down 27th Street and county line, and then I would use any money available for economic incentives to put a deal together.

"That’s how I look at it, which is a little bit different than the mayor, but I think the mayor and I can agree that on this we’re trying to develop that area.”

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