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Elkhart revitalization proposal moving along in the Statehouse

ELKHART, Ind. -

Several areas in Elkhart may soon get a makeover. State lawmakers are considering adding the city to a pilot program and it could boost business.

State lawmakers want to create a five-year pilot program that would allow Elkhart, Fort Wayne, Lafayette and Indianapolis to request grant money from the state that could be used to revitalize aging buildings.

According to our reporting partners at the Elkhart Truth, the two areas Elkhart wants to improve are nearly 8,000 acres of land on the east and west sides of the city’s downtown.

Within that stretch, there are approximately 1,700 acres in need of redevelopment.

Businesses who become a part of the program could receive financial incentives including property tax deductions for certain investments made in the specified districts and lowering business tax rates on older properties.

As part of the pilot, Mayor Tim Neese would have to create a 7 person Board of Directors. The board would be required to submit an annual report laying out what money the district spent and why they spent it.

Just two weeks ago, the chances of Elkhart getting any state funding looked slim, but local officials never gave up.

Mayor Neese even traveled to Indianapolis to meet with state representatives.

The bill needs to be placed by a committee before being voted on again by the entire Senate. Then, it would head to Governor Holcomb’s desk.

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