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News Release – New TIF District Established in South Whitley

COLUMBIA CITY, Ind. (November 30, 2018) – There are new opportunities for investment and development in South Whitley. The Town of South Whitley, Columbia City/Whitley County Joint Planning and Building Department, and Whitley County Economic Development Corporation (EDC), announced that an economic development plan and new Tax Increment Finance (TIF) district will be put into place for the Town of South Whitley.

The Town of South Whitley, Planning and Building Department, and Whitley County EDC have worked together since the beginning of the year to establish South Whitley’s own Redevelopment Commission (RDC) and to create an economic development plan that includes establishing the new TIF area. The plan and TIF were adopted by the RDC at their meeting on November 29.

“2018 was the start of the South Whitley Redevelopment Commission, and now we already have a TIF area to work on–it’s very exciting,” said South Whitley RDC Vice President Karen Jordan. “Change is coming to South Whitley! We have some great thinkers and planners on the [RDC] board to push South Whitley onward to becoming a vital community once again.”

South Whitley’s overall goals for economic growth as stated in the plan include: attracting new business, improving public spaces, focusing on downtown revitalization–including preserving and enhancing the downtown’s historical character and promoting public art. To help attract new investment and development, the RDC established the new TIF district.

A TIF district is a public financing tool that supports redevelopment and community improvement projects. Property tax revenue from increases in assessed values within the district is then reinvested to support those community improvement projects.

One of the main points of focus for the initial TIF area is downtown South Whitley. This includes the section of buildings on South State Street between West Wayne Street and West Columbia Street, as well as buildings along East Front Street and the Town Park. In addition, the TIF area includes the South Whitley Industrial Park, which has a lot of opportunity for continued development–located along SR 5 on the north side of town.

“A TIF district is an important tool for South Whitley to use in encouraging investment in town,” said Nathan Bilger, Executive Director of the Columbia City/Whitley County Joint Planning & Building Department and an advisor to the RDC. “The TIF can be used to leverage new business and quality of life opportunities not easily obtainable before, especially when used along with partnerships with local organizations, the recent historic district designation, and the enthusiasm of the Town’s residents.”

As shown on the map, the TIF area is highlighted in green. The overall Economic Development Area outlined by the plan is highlighted in pink. The TIF area may be expanded into the Development Area in future years as may be necessary to accomplish the goals of the South Whitley Comprehensive Plan and Economic Development Plan.

Members of the South Whitley RDC include: Bryan Rose, president; Karen Jordan, vice president; Nate Haywood, Tim Campbell, and Joe Simpson (who replaced Kris Shoemaker in October). Jorell Tucker serves as a non-voting member from the Whitko school board. Additional staff of the commission include: Janet Howard, South Whitley-Clerk Treasurer; Greg Hockemeyer, South Whitley legal counsel; Jon Myers, Whitley County EDC President; Sierra Lehman, a former intern with the Whitley County EDC; and Nathan Bilger, Executive Director, Columbia City/Whitley County Joint Planning & Building Department.

“We want to extend a huge thank you to Greg Hockemeyer, Jon Myers, and Nathan Bilger for advising us through the process,” said Jordan.

Download a digital PDF of the full Economic Development Plan.


About Whitley County EDC
The Whitley County Economic Development Corporation (EDC) is the lead economic development agency in Whitley County, Indiana. The EDC works closely with local, regional, and state partners to support our industry clients’ growth and success. Our mission is to lead a comprehensive economic development program that retains and expands employment opportunities for local residents and attracts business investment to Whitley County. The Whitley County EDC was established in 1992 and represents Whitley County, Columbia City, and the Towns of Churubusco, Larwill, and South Whitley. For more information about the EDC, visit: www.whitleyedc.com.

About Columbia City/Whitley County Joint Planning & Building Department
The Columbia City/Whitley County Joint Planning and Building Department provides planning, zoning and building services for all of Whitley County including the communities of Columbia City, Churubusco, South Whitley and Larwill.


Media Contact:

Nathan Bilger (Planning & Building) – 260.248.3112 wcplanning@whitleygov.com

Katie Dewitt (Whitley County EDC) – 260.244.5506 kdewitt@whitleyedc.com