The Herald Bulletin

July 5, 2013

Redevelopment Commission approves funds to improve rail spur

Officials consider addition to Edgewood development area

By Stuart Hirsch The Herald Bulletin
The Herald Bulletin

---- — ANDERSON — The Anderson Redevelopment Commission this week approved spending up to $10,000 to improve a railroad spur that primarily serves Tru-Cut Inc. off South Madison Avenue.

The work will include the replacement of railroad ties and other rail items. The company, which makes wood veneer items, relies on the spur to ship and receive products.

But members of the commission and its attorney, Ann Marie Bauer, said this will be a one-time assist.

“They are responsible. . . . We are not under any obligation for this,” Bauer said.

While he understands Bauer and the commission’s concern, Interim Economic Development Director Greg Winkler said he was in favor of the expenditure, seeing it as an opportunity for possible business expansion.

In other action, the commission was asked to consider buying the former Kmart and Payless Supermarket site immediately adjacent to the former Edgewood Plaza shopping center site. The plaza was demolished last year, and the city wants to redevelop the property.

The Kmart property is owned by SouthStar Properties. It was recently appraised at $300,000, but the owner said he would offer it to the redevelopment commission for $250,000, Winkler said.

“I know you don’t want to be a landlord,” Winkler added, but he urged commission members to consider the idea because it would make the plaza property more marketable for redevelopment if the city controlled what would become a parcel of about 20 acres.

Built in 1960, Edgewood Plaza over the years housed a Citizens Bank, a Hallmark store, an Aldi’s grocery store, an Old Country Buffet, a barber shop and a department store. The last business left in January 2012.

The area was incorporated into Anderson’s consolidated tax increment financing (TIF) district so that property taxes collected from new development can be used to pay for infrastructure and other improvements. The city then hired Development Concepts Inc. (DCI) at a cost of up to $75,000 to assess potential uses for the site, marketing it and finding a developer.

The area that DCI is assessing begins at the corner of Raible and Nichol avenues and goes to 16th Street, and west to the former Kmart and Pay Less Supermarket site.

DCI staff has met with members of the Edgewood Town Council to get a sense of what area residents would like to see there. In late March, Town Council President Patty Farran said she favors a hardware store as well as big name stores, a coffee shop and housing, so people can live close to shops.

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