Those involved in planning the Midtown Truman Road Corridor neighborhood revitalization 15 years ago had no idea that its source of funding would close its doors in 2007, the corporation’s president said Thursday.

Those involved in planning the Midtown Truman Road Corridor neighborhood revitalization 15 years ago had no idea that its source of funding would close its doors in 2007, the corporation’s president said Thursday.

Nearly three years after the Independence Regional Health Center closed its doors – and led to a reduction in the corridor organization’s tax increment financing – the organization has entered a cooperative agreement with the city of Independence to continue its mission. The corridor’s board of directors had its first quarterly meeting under its cooperative agreement with the city on Thursday.

An agreement with the former outside consultant, Ochsner Hare & Hare LLC, ended on Jan. 31, but the firm has agreed to provide on-call planning and landscape architecture services. A representative with the firm will attend corridor-related meetings at no charge, and other services will be charged hourly, as needed.

The 23-year TIF agreement with the hospital will end in eight years, but the 353 tax abatement program is indefinite. Within the 72-block neighborhood in west/central Independence, home owners had the chance to invest in home improvements that could qualify for 25 years of property tax abatement.

New applications closed in 2004, and all projects were to be completed by December 2007, according to the city. Five- and 10-year inspections are ongoing with the program.

As the Independence Regional Ennovation Center gets closer to completion at the former hospital, the possibility for additional revenue exists for the Midtown Truman Road corporation.

Tax-exempt entities that utilize the Ennovation Center, such as the Independence Council for Economic Development and the Independence School District, wouldn’t be included on a a tax roll, said Jennifer Clark, Community Development Department director and the Midtown Truman Road Corridor project manager. For-profit corporations included on tax rolls would be calculated annually, Clark said, and the intention is to replat the Ennovation Center complex as office condominiums.

Jackson County assessments of the Ennovation Center property would then determine if the Midtown Truman Road Corridor’s revenue increases, said Joe Gall, the board’s president.

“It’s possible,” Gall said.

“At some point, if we run out of money and we have no way to pay for administration, we would have to consult with the city to see how they would want to have this continue,” said Larry Blick, the board’s treasurer and former Independence city manager. “The tax abatement has caused a tremendous improvement in the stabilization of the neighborhood. In fact, there was ongoing deterioration before this 353 was formed, so we stopped the deterioration and were able to increase the property values. For the future of the city, it’s important that we have continued enforcement of the codes and conditions of the 353.”

Because the Fairmount-Carlisle 353 tax abatement district is located adjacent to the Midtown Truman Road Corridor, Gall said it makes economical sense for the city to utilize one tax abatement administrator, who is Pat Robinson.

“There’s some vacant property in the district, and when the economy improves and there is a demand for new housing again, the potential for tax abatement can be an incentive to get the property developed or to get it upgraded,” Blick said. “It’s important that we stay in business to be available when that occurs.”

BUDGET NUMBERS

Midtown Truman Road Corridor 2010 budget (The city of Independence will pay for administrative services.)

– Personnel (salary and benefits): $22,000

– Ochsner, Hare & Hare LLC planning consultants and landscape architects (This agreement ended Jan. 31.): $9,400

– Property maintenance: $3,325

– Errors and omissions insurance for board members: $1,800

– Contract inspections: $1,200

– Accounting and tax preparation: $500

– Office supplies: $200

TOTAL: $38,425