Local News

November 4, 2010

Trolley Place could become ‘enterprise zone’

OSKALOOSA — It’s just one piece of the Trolley Place Building’s restoration.

At a short meeting of the Oskaloosa City Council Monday night, the council approved an application by Oskaloosa Downtown Development for enterprise zone benefits from the state of Iowa through the Iowa Department of Economic Development.

Oskaloosa Downtown Development wants to make the property known as the Trolley Place Building into eight downtown apartment units. In order to do that, the property needs to be part of a an “enterprise zone.” Within this new enterprise zone, an estimated $6.7 million will be spent on renovations.

John Sullivan, director of the Oskaloosa Area Chamber and Development Group, said putting in for enterprise zone designation is just one part of getting the Trolley Place Building restored.

The incentives Oskaloosa Downtown Development are seeking come from the state of Iowa, requiring no local contributions from the city of Oskaloosa. The incentives include a state sales service and use tax refund of $81,755, as well as an investment tax credit of $112,000, among others. Sullivan said state historic tax credits and federal tax credits are also being used toward the Trolley Place Building.

“We’re getting grants for this,” explained Sullivan while noting that a HUD grant for $1 million was already earned by Oskaloosa Downtown Development. “Some of them are still in the process of being approved.”

Sullivan said enterprise zones are a welcome addition to Oskaloosa and any other community looking to grow economically.

“They’re good for businesses and they’re good for homes,” he said.

So, what’s an enterprise zone?

Enterprise zones are designed to stimulate development by targeting economically distressed areas in Iowa.

Through tax incentives, businesses and developers are encouraged to make new investments, and create or retain jobs in enterprise zones. The goal of the program is to revitalize these areas and make them competitive with other locations throughout Iowa. An incentive for housing development may also be available to developers and contractors building or rehabilitating housing in an established enterprise zone.

The city of Oskaloosa has created a nine-member commission responsible for reviewing and recommending to the IDED, applications by local developers to receive enterprise zone tax incentives.

In other business, the council:

• Approved a motion to receive and file the audit report and authorize payment of $9,000 to Martens & Company and $625 to the auditor of the state.

• Approved the 2010 fiscal year financial report.

• Approved ordering publication of a notice of hearing and notice to bidders on the Northwest Sanitary Sewer Project.


Herald City Editor Andy Goodell can be reached at news2@oskyherald.com


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