Greenfield looks to future for Loomis tax dollars as it moves past previous controversy

April 23, 2013

Greenfield - The controversial Loomis Crossing proposed project is dead, but its spirit is alive and it may help Greenfield taxpayers down the road.

The city will try to sell the two parcels it obtained for the proposed Loomis Road development, plus nearly 18 unused acres of the park-and-ride lot the state Department of Transportation owns along Interstate 894. The goal is to get them onto the property tax rolls.

The list price is $6.5 million.

The city has a memorandum of understanding with the DOT allowing the city to offer the unused portions of the park-and-ride lot for development along with the 2.1 acres the city owns, said Chuck Erickson, Greenfield development director. The city acquired its land in 2011 from owners who wanted to sell.

High-potential area

The area is east of Loomis, north of I-894 and south of Cold Spring Road - where I-894 and Loomis Road meet.

Erickson said the 20 acres could attract all sorts of potential buyers - the city's land use plan allows office, hotel, retail and commercial uses - but some rezoning will likely be needed, depending on the actual development plan proposed.

"Whether there's interest the real world, we'll wait and see," Erickson said.

The goal is to get unused property back onto the property tax rolls, he said, which is the same as the Loomis Crossing proposal - involving commercial and residential elements - that would also have redeveloped what the city sees as under-used land.

Now vs. then

The prospect proved controversial, in part, due to perceived fears in 2010 that the city might use to force land sales to further the development. City officials denied that was ever part of the plan, but, regardless, the mixed-use, 47-acre development eventually lost momentum.

"Loomis Crossing is officially dead, but the idea behind that is evident in what we are doing here, only not on the scale envisioned three or four years ago," Erickson said.

It would be wonderful if development could occur, he said, because it would bring in more tax dollars, provide jobs and reimburse the city for the cost of the two parcels.

"All positives for any community," Erickson said.

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