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A meeting was held Wednesday to discuss plans to establish a new TIF district in Park Hills relating to the Flat River Commons Project currently being developed near the St. Francois County Fairgrounds.

Tax Increment Financing (TIF) is used to help finance community economic development projects or public improvement projects by diverting tax revenue increases to projects being completed within an established district. TIF creates funding for public or private projects by borrowing against the future increase in these property tax revenues.

The TIF commission that met Wednesday was formed a few months ago and includes representatives from the city, the St. Francois County Ambulance District, county government, and area school districts, among others.

Park Hills currently has a large TIF district established in the fairgrounds area which will expire in five years.

City Administrator Mark McFarland explained that TIF is based on a 23-year time period and only five years remain on the current TIF that Hefner’s Furniture had. The concern of city officials is that the remaining five years wouldn't be enough time for businesses to develop locations within that district, which encompasses almost all of the Flat River Commons project.

A public meeting is required before a TIF Commission can proceed with putting a new district plan together. The meeting was lightly attended by only a couple of residents who live within the TIF district.

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“The current TIF that we have where Hefner’s Furniture is located is being shrunk down to just include Hefner's area and possibly the car lot there,” explained McFarland. “We are creating a new TIF that will take in all of the [Flat River Commons] area.”

McFarland also said the commission will eventually look at creating another TIF district on the other side of the highway, but their main focus is to address the Flat River Commons Project area as businesses are beginning to build and make plans to build there.

Once the new TIF district is in place, McFarland said that a new 23-year time period will begin, allowing new businesses to use the revenue generated by the TIF to help build.

Construction is already underway on a new location for Leadbelt Powersports in the new commons development area and real estate developers for the project say that other businesses are actively looking at plans to locate in that area.

This week's public meeting was the first step in the process of establishing the new TIF district and the commission will move on to the next stage of the process to complete the plan before it eventually goes before the city council for a vote.

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