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A redevelopment plan exists, and debuted last night during the Fremont Planning Commission meeting at Christensen Field … and it includes Project No. 1: Costco Poultry Complex.

Coined, the “South Fremont Industrial Redevelopment Plan,” the proposed document, was recommended last night by the commission for review and consideration by Fremont City Council at a special meeting taking place tonight at Christensen Field Multi-Purpose Building, 1710 W. 16th St. starting at 6:45 p.m.

The plan addresses the redevelopment and remediation of approximately 992 acres of land recently designated in legal terms as a “blight and substandard area” located just south of the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad and east of South Broad Street. The Blight and Substandard Designation resulted from a study commissioned by the Greater Fremont Development Council, conducted by JEO Consulting Group Inc., and approved by City Council at its July 12 meeting.

In accordance with the Nebraska Community Development Law, Fremont Director of Planning Troy Anderson explained that the redevelopment plan serves as the next phase in blight and substandard designation. Once an area is legally termed “blighted and substandard” a municipality may then entertain proposals for redevelopment brought forth by the community, developers or by the municipality itself. In such an area, any redevelopment projects undertaken may acquire certain financial tools that stimulate and/or facilitate improvements of the area. Tax increment financing represents one example of those tools.

“A redevelopment plan like this is a tool required under state statute to help an area designated blighted and substandard identify projects and illustrate how those projects meet the goals of improving the area,” said Cecilia Harry, executive director of the Greater Fremont Development Council.

Harry explained that typically, a redevelopment plan involves two pieces. The first includes a general plan to identify opportunities and goals of the designated area. The second piece represents an ongoing process; and as projects are identified an addendum to the redevelopment plan is created to address new projects more specifically and ensure they adhere to the general plan.

One such specific project hoping to take advantage of TIF funding – and included in the redevelopment plan – continues to raise passions in the Fremont area. Recently approved by Fremont City Council for annexation into the city’s corporate limits, a large tract of land in the designated redevelopment area includes the 421 acres eyed by Costco Wholesale and Lincoln Premium Poultry for construction of a large, fully integrated poultry processing operation, now known as Project No. 1.

The South Fremont Industrial Redevelopment Plan outlines three main components addressing the improvements in the area. The first relates specifically to the Costco acreage and provides a detailed roadmap for the next phases of development the construction of the poultry operation. The second component provides a general framework against which further redevelopment projects may proceed within the designated blight and substandard area. The third covers the utilization of tax incremental financing for the various elements related to the Costco project.

Specific characteristics of the Costco project listed in the plan include a 75,000 square foot hatchery, a 250,000 square foot processing facility and feed mill consisting of several 145 foot silos and one 170-foot mill tower. Additionally, numerous public improvements are also anticipated within the plan. They include extension of electrical service lines, water lines, gas lines and a new 4.5 mile waste water main. The plan also outlines construction of above ground wastewater treatment lagoons, public street improvements and grading preparation of the proposed construction site.

Project No. 1 also intends to utilize the advantages of tax increment financing for redevelopment of the area, without which, the plan states, the project would lack practicality.

“The redevelopment project is not economically feasible without tax increment financing and would not occur in the community redevelopment area without the use of (T.I.F.),” the report states.

The plans outlines the allocation of T.I.F. for use in redevelopment aspects that include utilities extension, wastewater treatment, public street infrastructure, grading and site preparation and site acquisition.

Other details of the plan include a master plan for construction and reconstruction of infrastructure, improvements in unsanitary and unsafe conditions, enforcement of municipal codes on properties that put the health and safety of the community at risk and the evaluation public infrastructure improvements on a case by case basis.

Through its outreach efforts to attract business ventures and development to the Fremont area, the GFDC has divulged that two projects (in addition to Costco’s operation) show potential for possible development with the blight and substandard area.

A special City Council meeting tonight at 6:45 p.m. at Christensen Field will entertain a public hearing and resolution approving the South Fremont Industrial Redevelopment Plan.

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