Bedford Redevelopment Commission Tables Allocation On Facade And Trails Projects

(BEDFORD) – The Bedford Redevelopment Commission tabled two agenda items for the second time regarding a fourth downtown facade project and a Rails to Trails Project from New Albany to Bedford.

Back in March, commission members asked if the votes on these projects by the former commission members could be rescinded and recommitted to other projects.

File photo: Bedford Redevelopment Commission tabled a fourth facade project for downtown businesses.

There were originally four projects supported by the Bedford Redevelopment Corporation voted on in November 2019. The roundabout project at John Williams Boulevard is now a federal grant project. The remaining projects are listed below:

  • Allocate $150,000 towards the Rails to Trails grant application. The City of New Albany will commit $200,000 and Radius of Indiana will commit $300,000 towards the grant application. 
  • Allocate $150,000 towards the Downtown Facade Project. During the Stellar Project funding only allowed for 12 businesses to participate in the project but 30 downtown businesses expressed interest in the project. 
  • Allocate the remaining $389,500 to the City of Bedford Utilities Project.

The vote was 4-1 on these projects. Judy Carlisle was the only commission member to vote against the proposal. In the discussion over the four projects, Carlisle felt it was more beneficial to all city taxpayers if they allocate the whole $689,500 to Bedford Utilities.

Carlisle also suggested they wait until the first of the year for the new commission members to decide where the $689,500 should be allocated.

A Rails to Trails Project from New Albany to Yockey Road is supported by New Albany and Radius of Indiana. The Bedford Redevelopment Commission tabled funding the project Monday evening pending further review.

On Monday evening, commission members tabled both the Facade Project and the Rails to Trails Project. Some members voiced concerns that the money could be better spent in other places.

The Facade Project would be the fourth one the city has supported in the last 17 years.

The Rails to Trails Project will take trails from New Albany, Indiana to Yockey Road, just north of Mitchell. Radius Indiana has committed over half a million dollars to the project according to Bedford Mayor Sam Craig. The New Albany group is committing more than $300,000 for the project.

The CSX Railroad has not committed to the Rails to Trails Project and the trail supporters are relying on the State of Indiana to push the project forward with more than $1 billion investment projects throughout the state which included more than $90 million for hiking, biking, and riding trails.

Governor Holcomb’s plan was released back in September 2018.

The plan emphasizes connecting counties, cities, and towns across Indiana trails and contributing to the quality of life initiatives. The goal was to have trails within five miles of all residents by 2020.

This initiative was started in 2018 and required raising the gas tax to raise the revenue for the projects.

However, during last night’s meeting, RDC members expressed that RDC funds could be better used on other projects in the city, including Judy Carlisle who voted no on the three projects in November.

“I still think the money could be used in other places that are needed,” Carlisle added.

Carlisle again expressed those same sentiments during last night’s RDC meeting. The other commission members say they have more questions that need to be answered before proceeding with the two projects.

At this time, Mayor Sam Craig will contact City Attorney Greg Pittman and have him attend the next RDC meeting to advise them on what they can or cannot do.

Officials say the $689,000 in projects have to be earmarked prior to July 2020. There were over 10 projects that the previous RDC members identified that Tax Incremental Funds could have been used for.

In other business, a total payment of $750 towards the Stonegate Education Center Loan was approved. The Stonegate Education Center has a USDA Loan of $4.5 million and an interest rate of 3.25 percent.