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City of Tyler approves public improvement district development near Bellwood Lake

Public Improvement Districts is an economic development tool that allows the creation of a special district within the city.

TYLER, Texas — The Tyler City Council kicked off 2021 by approving a new policy for Public Improvement Districts (PID) in hopes of encouraging economic growth. 

On Feb. 10, the council approved its first PID for the Westside Place PID near Bellwood Lake off Loop 323.

A PID is an economic development tool that allows the creation of a special district within the city, where the district’s property owners reimburse a developer for the building costs of public infrastructure and improvements within the district. The public infrastructure improvements a developer would pay for include drainage, water and sewer, streets, and parks. Other improvements to the PID can include landscaping, fountains, specialty lighting, art, decorative and landscaped streets, and sidewalks, bike lanes, multiuse trails, signage that support the development and generate economic benefits to the city.  

Tyler's policy requires a PID to be built within the North End Revitalization planning area or nearby. LouAnn Campbell, public information officer for the City of Tyler's utilities and engineering says the city did this in hopes of more growth in underdeveloped parts of the city.

"Areas within and surrounding our northern revitalization area will benefit from this additional development opportunity," Campbell said. "It coincides with our comprehensive plan and that plan helps provide for balanced growth throughout the city and areas within those surrounding our North End Revitalization area."

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The Westside Place PID will develop more than 500 acres near the lake and Loop 323.

"This is a development that we hope will, you know, bring job opportunities and more homes to that side of the city," Campbell said.

The developer estimates the design, acquisition and construction of streets, sidewalks, drainage, water, wastewater, recreational areas, landscaping, irrigation and lighting to for the 538.33 acres of land to be about $150,000,000. Future investors who purchase property in the district would pay their share of those costs when they purchase the property or through annual payments in conjunction with their property taxes.

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Campbell says the developer had not submitted any plans for businesses or homes at this time. 

The PID policy requires a developer to petition the city council to form a PID, which must demonstrate that it provides a benefit to the properties in the district, as well as community members. The policy includes petition requirements, qualified costs, financing criteria, information disclosures to property owners and the developer's plans, budgets, and assessments. In addition, a non-refundable application fee of $15,000 is required when a developer or property owner files a petition to create a PID, which Campbell says the city uses to cover the expenses of verifying and assessing the petition. 

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