After years of negotiation, the residential phase of Kettle Park West moved forward with taxpayer funding.
This May, the Common Council approved $3 million in tax-increment financing for the 80-acre project, with its planned 195 housing units and a 10-acre park. The residential phase is west of the 32-acre commercial development known at KPW Phase 1, anchored by a Walmart Supercenter.
The deal culminates around four years of negotiations between the city and developer, who had been at odds over several issues, including additional access points on Hwy. 138 and U.S. Hwy. 51 and assurances for the city those road improvements would happen. The city was also concerned about funding restoration of the wetland behind Walmart, allowing $100,000 of TIF funds to go toward those efforts.
The majority of Phase 2 funding will be used to complete projects such as trails, interior streets, extensions of existing streets and facilities for managing stormwater runoff, according to the master development agreement, which outlines Forward Development Group’s (FDG) building obligations.
FDG has been working with the city on the KPW development since 2009. The first phase was the subject of many contentious votes and even a citizen-sponsored advisory referendum, in which a majority of voters opposed both taxpayer financing and the development itself.
Walmart opened in 2017, and by then, FDG was already working on its second phase, which started with a hotel and senior housing.
That controversy sparked Alder Jean Ligocki (Dist. 2) to host three information sessions about TIF funding and KPW Phase 2. The Hub previously reported that few people showed up to those sessions.
FDG initially requested $5.6 million for the rest of Phase 2 in 2016, but alders were uncomfortable with that amount then. FDG sought to lower its TIF request by eliminating apartments from its plans for Phase 2.