Madison Square gets its CIA


    Grand Rapids city commissioners granted the city’s second Corridor Improvement Authority to Madison Square last week.

    “This is a traditional business district that qualifies under the state statute,” said Kara Wood, city economic development director.

    Business owners there can now create a Corridor Improvement District that will be able to capture a portion of the sector’s property taxes for improvements. But before the CID can become official, the CIA board has to be named. Up to nine can serve on it. The board will consist of property and business owners and at least one resident.

    According to the state act, one member will be designated by Mayor George Heartwell and up to eight others will be appointed by the mayor and city commissioners. Then the board will write a development plan for the district and use the property taxes that are generated from improvements for further upgrades in the sector.

    “The proposal says they will not be doing any bonding against the tax-increment financing,” said Wood.

    The district runs along Hall Street from Jefferson to Eastern avenues and along Madison Avenue from Umatillia to Garden streets on the city’s southeast side. The intersection of Madison and Hall is generally considered to be the center of the business district.

    Wood said the total ground-floor square footage in the development area is 177,811 square feet. The commercial area accounts for 80 percent of that total square footage. A preliminary estimate of the tax-increment financing that Madison Square may generate in the CID’s first three years, from 2010 through 2012, is nearly $8,000.

    Third Ward Commissioner James White said Neighborhood Ventures and Lighthouse Communities played instrumental roles in helping Madison Square get the designation. “I think it’s historic,” said Elias Lumpkins, also a 3rd Ward commissioner.

    City commissioners granted Uptown the first CIA in April and appointed members to the board last month. Second Ward Commissioner Rosalynn Bliss chairs the board. Business districts in Eastown, East Hills, East Fulton and Wealthy Street make up the Uptown CID. 

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