March 05, 2021

START OF A NEW LEGACY: Supervisors onboard with reinvestment district

Jasper County supports city’s application to designate state funds to benefit Legacy Plaza project

Jasper County Supervisors strongly support the City of Newton’s application to establish a reinvestment district in town, which would help generate funds to develop market-rate apartments, a hotel and other projects at Legacy Plaza, as well as provide improvement grants for existing buildings near downtown.

The prospects of enhancing the DMACC-owned Legacy Plaza and the surrounding areas “are extremely exciting and offer great potential for business growth,” Jasper County Supervisors Chairman Doug Cupples recited Tuesday, Jan. 12 from a letter drafted by JEDCO Executive Director Jeff Davidson.

The Jasper County Board of Supervisors voted 3-0 to approve the letter authorizing its official support of the application.

“Therefore, we are delighted by the cooperation of the City of Newton and DMACC to seek the reinvestment district designation,” Cupples said. “We wholeheartedly support this application and the value […] a successful designation will bring to our county.”

Iowa Economic Development Authority’s (IEDA) says its Iowa Reinvestment District Program provides up to $100 million in new state hotel/motel and sales tax revenues to designated urban renewal areas. All revenues are “reinvested” within these approved districts, which cannot exceed 75 acres in size.

Municipalities may adopt an ordinance or resolution to establish a reinvestment district once formally approved by the IEDA Board, which scores applicants based on uniqueness, economic impact, project feasibility, capital investment, funding leverage, nonmetal focus and other additional factors.

The Iowa Department of Revenue will collect the tax revenues used to fund the projects under the reinvestment district program.

Supervisors are now following the lead of the Newton City Council, which authorized its application for a reinvestment district to IEDA last month.

If the application is approved, the reinvestment district will financially reinforce the estimated $20 million adaptive reuse project already taking shape at Legacy Plaza, which is made up of the former Maytag Corporation headquarters buildings. It may also help fund other projects like the proposed splash pad.

Other revenues streams will be needed to fully fund the Legacy Plaza project.

Angela Harrington, principal of Legacy Plaza, LLC, and owner of Hotel Grinnell in Grinnell and The Highlander Hotel in Iowa City, hopes to utilize a variety of development tools to fully realize the project, including Historic Tax Credits, the Iowa Reinvestment Act and Workforce Credits, among others.

Contact Christopher Braunschweig at 641-792-3121 ext. 6560 or cbraunschweig@newtondailynews.com