Missoula Midtown: City Council changes to MRA would hurt evolving district
The Missoula Midtown Association works to provide resources and information related to the success and growth of a healthy business community and to enhance the quality of life and quality of place for visitors and residents alike in Missoula’s vibrant commercial and residential district along the Brooks Corridor in Midtown Missoula.
Midtown is changing rapidly and much of the beneficial redevelopment of our district utilized Urban Renewal District III reinvestment of tax increment finance funds.
In the last few years alone TIF funding has been instrumental in the creation of vital east-west connections, new residential units, bike and pedestrian trail connections, MRL Park and infrastructure improvements to support large commercial development resulting in numerous new jobs.
Many of our members have been able to improve dated properties with aging or little infrastructure along the Brooks Corridor with façade improvement projects and landscaping and sidewalk projects in the public right of way because of URD III TIF investments.
Furthermore, we have started an 18-month Master Plan process for Midtown to plan and encourage further redevelopment of this expanding commercial and residential district. All of our work to increase housing density, promote livability and support businesses and residents in Midtown could be in jeopardy without a healthy economic development tool to help us implement the priorities of the finished Master Plan.
Even at this point in the process, we can articulate to Council that Midtown needs more east-west connections, an affordable housing project adjacent to MRL Park, utility extensions for upcoming housing and commercial development and the largest and most important project vital to the district, the completion of a decades long process to reconfigure Brooks Street for multi-modal transportation and improve traffic for everyone in Missoula County.
Midtown has been waiting for two decades for the right moment to redevelop. We have patiently built the increment and laid the groundwork to build so we can have the quality of life that other Missoula neighborhoods have. Our residents need the infrastructure identified that improves health outcomes.
We urge you to not rush action on this Resolution and to take a much closer look at the proposed cap on TIF funding and how it directly affects Urban Renewal District III and the momentum of the district’s redevelopment efforts.
The Resolution could deplete resources for workforce and affordable housing projects to be identified in the Master Plan and jeopardize the city’s ability to provide a local match for federal funding for Brooks Street Corridor improvements. This resolution in its current form will have lasting effects on the future of Midtown and now is not the time to deprive this district of the one economic development tool we have.