Just Ask! Can urban renewal build bus turnouts?

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Just Ask!

Ask us a question about just about anything and we’ll do our best to answer it, or find the people who can. Just Ask is a recurring Keizertimes feature.

“Can the money they get for the River Road Renaissance be used for more practical purposes, such as turn outs for the buses or even updating the traffic signal devices on River Road for better traffic flow?”

– Peter D., Keizer

 

Dear Peter,

Starting from the south end of town, the Urban Renewal District starts at the city limits and stretches east to take in Cherry Avenue. It also has Candlewood Drive.

Then the district boundaries narrow where River and Cherry meet, extending north to about Country Glen Avenue. It also goes down Lockhaven Drive and takes in Keizer Station.

All increment taxes collected by the district must be spent on “capital improvements and land within the boundaries of the district,” said City Attorney Shannon Johnson. Money can also be used to pay bonds used on bigger projects or for administrative costs (a portion of several city employees’ salary is paid by urban renewal income).

Program income is another type of revenue, in Keizer’s case proceeds from land sales at Keizer Station. That money is limited to similar uses, but under some circumstances can be spent outside the district boundaries, Johnson said. This money is being used to purchase property adjacent to Keizer Rapids Park.

To get to the heart of your question:  Yes. A bus turnout, in particular, would qualify, Johnson said. But the urban renewal district plan would have to be modified to do so. A traffic signal “may qualify” Johnson said.

And furthermore, the district may not be around much longer. Mayor Lore Christopher wants to sunset it in 2012.

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