Huntsville & partners approve new TIF district for development of Greenbrier area near Polaris

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - In a brief meeting Monday evening, partners put the final seal of approval on TIF District 6, which covers the area around Greenbrier Road, near the new Polaris plant.

Here's the actual map of the sporadic boundaries of the new TIF district, as well as the improvements proposed.

The city and its partners will issue bonds, taking on debt, to create improvements in the area.

TIF stands for "tax increment financing," and it works like this: The city wants to make improvements out in this area by the new Polaris plant. They can't afford the upwards-of-fifty-million up front, so they issue bonds, basically borrowing money. All new property tax revenue inside the TIF district -- from new development in the area -- goes to paying that money back.

They've got sewage work and a big road project up first.

Huntsville's Director of Urban Development, Shane Davis, outlines the biggest project, "Greenbrier Parkway would be a five-lane extension to Huntsville-Browns Ferry to give you a connection to I-65. We think that's critical in bringing more jobs like Polaris types jobs that we've seen."

Huntsville City Council Member Bill Kling notes some of the less glamorous projects, "There's going to be sewer that's going to be put in, electrical connections, things that are needed for new industry to come in."

The work in the area doesn't just benefit Huntsville though, and so they've got partners to help with the improvements.

Kling lists off, "The bodies involved include city of Huntsville, city of Madison, city of Athens, Madison County Commission, and Limestone County Commission."

All of those groups are betting together that this area will generate a lot of revenue with the proper improvement.

Kling tells us, "The new Polaris facility is going to be bringing in thousands of jobs, and of course, that will serve as a magnet to bring in other jobs."

The city boasts a strong track record of making these arrangements work.

Davis points out, "This would be the seventh TIF that the city of Huntsville has embarked on. Four of those TIFs have paid off early. One paid off in three years."

One thing you might notice is they have a school on the list of plans, but that's really only in case the growth proves truly explosive. It's not a near-term plan.

"It's kind of like a kid with a Christmas list," Davis explains, "You put everything on there knowing Santa Claus or your parents are not going to provide that whole list, but you get it all on there."

First things first, they'll tackle the sewers and roads.

Davis estimates you'll see the dirt moving by the first of the year.