Financing plan for Meadowbrook park unlikely to face opposition that could veto it, council told

Municipal_Offices_Prairie_Village

A Tax Increment Financing (TIF) plan to pay for the new Meadowbrook Park at 91st and Nall is not likely to find opposition from the two groups that can veto a TIF district.

The Prairie Village City Council was told last week that the school district is on board with the plan for the TIF that will be used to purchase park land and make improvements on it. The school district and the county are the two groups that can oppose the district. Prairie Village Mayor Laura Wassmer said she and City Administrator Quinn Bennion had met with the school district several times. “They are onboard with this,” she told the council last week.

Bennion said the school district will receive more money in the long run from the project. The county, the other group that can veto the project, is actually a partner in the plan because the park land that is acquired from the owner will be turned over to the county parks department to run as a county park.

That turnover will likely come with some deed restrictions, the city’s bond counsel, Gary Anderson, said, such as that the land can only be used for a park. There restrictions have not been worked out yet, he told the council.

Bennion also pointed out that the money from the bonds will be used only on the 94 acres of public land that will result from the transaction, not on the 44 acres of private land. The bond proceeds will be used for the acquisition of the park land and for park improvements.

Under the financing mechanism, the increased taxes from development on the portion of the country club land that will remain with the private developer, including apartments, a senior living complex, townhomes, single family residences and a small hotel, will be used to pay the principal and interest on bonds. The money from the bonds will be used to buy the 94 acres for park land and make park improvements.

Bennion said that neither the city nor county have the reserves to pay for a park. The TIF plan, which is limited to a 20-year life, makes that possible. The amount the city will pay for the land will be determined by an appraisal. The plan is unusual because in most TIF arrangements, proceeds go to the developer to help offset the cost of a new development.