The city of Seymour recently completed a lengthy process of updating its economic development plan to give the redevelopment commission the ability to fund quality of life projects.

In the past, the RDC has used tax increment finance (TIF) revenue generated from the Burkart Tax Allocation area, which consists of the Eastside Industrial Park and Cummins Seymour Engine Plant, to help fund road, drainage, sewer and other infrastructure projects.

By amending the plan, the city now has an opportunity to pursue funding from the RDC for the potential development of an indoor community pool facility estimated to cost $6-$9 million.

Both pools at Seymour High School and Shields Park are in need of major renovations in the near future. Although the high school pool is indoors, it is no longer big enough for competitive purposes and has limited public access. The city pool is big enough for swim competitions but is outdoors and only available 10 weeks out of the year.

That coincidence of need is leading the city to explore a partnership with Seymour Community School Corp. to build an indoor pool facility to meet the needs of both the school system for athletic and team use and the community for fitness and exercise year round.

For the pool project to be considered for RDC funding, an architectural feasibility study and cost estimate will have to be completed along with a contract between the city and the school corporation to allow coordinated programming and public access.

Besides an indoor pool, there also has been discussion of building a splash pad feature either at Shields Park or another park as a quality of life project that now could receive funding from the RDC too.

The changes to the economic plan also provide for funding requests from local non-profit groups for small capital or program/service projects with significant impact in the community. One such organization includes the Seymour Museum, which has requested funding for a new HVAC system in its building downtown to be open to the public year round.

RDC members with support from Mayor Matt Nicholson are developing guidelines and an application for nonprofits to apply for grant funding to support projects that benefit the community. The board, however, is planning to limit those funds to a portion of the project cost so as not to become the sole source of finance.

On Tuesday, the RDC voted 3-0 to approve and adopt the amended plan. Commissioners Nate Otte and Mark Dennis did not attend the meeting and Commissioner Bonnye Good attended virtually. The changes also were approved by the city council and plan commission.

The city’s economic plan was created in 2008 and has been amended five other times since then.

Even with the addition of quality of life projects, previous commitments and priorities of the RDC have not changed, said Mike Shaver, president of Wabash Scientific, Inc. Shaver wrote the original plan and the amendments.

The RDC allocates TIF funds for projects to help attract industrial development, improve the downtown and invest in infrastructure.

The tax allocation area is projected to generate $4 million or more in revenue for the RDC annually through 2038.
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