Mar 25, 2011 11:03 PM by Maddie Garrett
Two areas of Lafayette are both seeing growth and development, but the funding isn't an equal match. At the shopping center in upper Lafayette, crews are making way on a new Academy sports store.
At the same time across town, construction of the Parc Lafayette hotel development is also making progress. But the difference in the two is a tax incentive program that works for one project but not the other.
About four years ago Lafayette parish made a bold move to develop the unused land off of I-10 near the Breaux Bridge exit.
"That whole shopping center would not have happened if Lafayette Parish had not gone after the TIF," said Jan Swift, Executive Director of Upper Lafayette.
TIF, or tax increment financing, enables a city or parish to fund infrastructure projects based on future tax revenue those developments will bring in.
"I think the TIF in north Lafayette took place because it was needed, there was nothing there. It wasn't blighted, there was no development, the land was sitting idle and it was needed," said Swift.
A few years ago the TIF district in north Lafayette was approved, and residents are seeing the benefits.
"It's worth it to us to pay extra, so other people in other parts of town can do the same," said Andrea Husband, who lives in the area.
So why did the TIF fall through for the Parc Lafayette project on Kaliste Saloom? Swift said it's not a location problem, but a timing one.
"There were people, I think Tea Party people, that didn't want more taxes, especially without a vote of the people. And the fact that it was more competition in the hotel industry which is suffering today," explained Swift.
And despite losing the sales tax incentive at Parc Lafayette, the developer is still moving forward with the project. Meanwhile, the soon-to-be Academy store and other developments by Stirling in upper Lafayette continue to be supported by TIF districts.