The board of the tax increment finance district for the north side and Historic Stockyards voted Wednesday to ask the city to advance $7.9 million to cover public improvements along East Exchange Avenue and a major sewer line upgrade along Mule Alley.
The TIF, established in 2014, is only in its second year of collecting revenue, so there is not yet enough money to cover the costs of the improvements, which are eligible for TIF monies. Under the proposal, the TIF will repay the city over a 10-year period interest-free.
As the Fort Worth Heritage development group begins a $40 million project to renovate the mule barns off East Exchange Avenue, the city’s staff determined that it would be cost-efficient to upgrade the sewer line now, rather than coming back years later to redo the line, said Jay Chapa, an assistant city manager.
The sewer line supports the Stockyards and other north side neighborhoods. Fort Worth Heritage has started a $175 million redevelopment of Stockyards property.
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Some of the TIF money, $3.9 million, will go toward improvements along East Exchange Avenue, from Main to Packers streets, including sidewalks, landscaping and lighting.
The improvements come as Fort Worth Heritage works to persuade the Rural Media Group network, RFD-TV, to consolidate its headquarters from Omaha, Neb., and production studio from Nashville to the Stockyards. RFD-TV, whose programming is focused on agribusiness, horses and the rural lifestyle, as well as country music and entertainment, reaches 50 million households.
Fort Worth is competing with Durango, Colo., and Nashville for the project. On Tuesday, the City Council is expected to hear terms of a proposed economic incentive with Rural Media Group. The network has about 150 employees.
The appeal of it to the city of Fort Worth is, kind of like CNN from its world headquarters in Atlanta or ESPN from Bristol, Conn., everyday someone would say, ‘Live from the Fort Worth Historic Stockyards RFD-TV.’
Fort Worth Councilman Sal Espino
“The appeal of it to the city of Fort Worth is, kind of like CNN from its world headquarters in Atlanta or ESPN from Bristol, Conn., everyday someone would say, ‘Live from the Fort Worth Historic Stockyards RFD-TV,’ ” said Councilman Sal Espino, who chairs the TIF board.