Good growth

1/1/2014

Aggressive retail strategy promises to pay off locally.

Aggressive retail strategy promises to pay off locally.

Garden City welcomed the first piece of a significant new retail development in 2013.

As chronicled in today's edition, the launch of the Schulman Crossing retail development in Menards, along with other major retail tenants still to come, was rated by newspaper staff as the top 2013 news story in The Telegram's coverage area.

Hobby Lobby will be the second largest store in the new shopping center. Other retailers announced were Dick's Sporting Goods, Petco, T.J. Maxx, Ross Dress for Less, Cato Fashions and Ulta cosmetics.

Looking back, local officials did a nice job of crafting a plan needed to seal the deal.

The venture involved the use of tax-increment financing (TIF), a method of public financing used for infrastructure and other community projects. TIF deals essentially allow governments to effectively freeze property tax payments on a site for a certain number of years, and use taxes generated by improvements to pay for development-related costs, usually infrastructure improvements such as water, sewer, sidewalks and streets.

Another exciting venture in a nearby restaurant-indoor water park-hotel development, including an Old Chicago Pizza and Taproom now being constructed, also saw approval of a TIF and a community improvement district that allocated an additional 1 percent sales tax levied on customers within the new development and at the owner's Sleep Inn and Clarion Inn.

Even though such retail growth would be coveted by many area communities, local skeptics still questioned the need for public financing and other incentives, and whether those costs would outweigh any potential gain.

Supporters, on the other hand, could point to many benefits of the aggressive strategy in new jobs, a boost in sales-tax revenue to be used for local services and improvements, and the community's continued growth as a regional shopping hub.

Such news is all the more welcome as other area towns offer incentives to spur the same kind of retail growth.

New places for shopping, dining and entertainment bring more reasons for people to visit and stay. Getting to that point was exciting for the community, and cause to look forward to still more positive growth ahead.

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