SYRACUSE — The Syracuse Redevelopment Commission met to discuss annexation of the technology park Thursday, May 12. Syracuse Town Manager Henry DeJulia explained the commission was working with Bose McKinney & Evans, a law firm in Indianapolis to annex park into the town limits of Syracuse.
DeJulia explained a public hearing on the annexation will be held during the Syracuse Town Council meeting Tuesday night, May 17. Annexation should be adopted at the June town council meeting.
Dan VanLue asked if a town could own a piece of property disconnected to it. Larry Siegel explained Indiana Code was tweaked last year to allow cities such as Syracuse to annex non-continuous property for certain purposes. The law determines which cities and towns are allowed to do this based on population.
Ernie Rogers asked if the town would then maintain the property.
The commission approved several Tax Increment Finance Appropriations. London Witte will be paid $2,500 for developing the financial plan for the industrial park’s annexation. The funds will come from the Benton Township TIF fund.
DeJulia made a request for Bose, McKinney and Evans for $20,000 to cover annexation costs. The funds would come from the Benton Township TIF fund. DeJulia noted he didn’t think annexation costs would be that high, but felt it was better to ask for too much and put remaining money back in the fund than to have to keep asking for more.
The commission also approved $6,300 from the Oakwood Property TIF for the purchase of a small piece of property on Palm Drive, next to the Oakwood Resort property. Siegel explained the Parents who own the resort, sold the small piece of property to the town for $300. The remaining funds are to cover attorney fees and incidentals such as permits.
Currently where the property is located causes a tight turn for fire trucks and tour buses. The plan is for the town to widen that area to make turning the corner easier.
The commission discussed building a spec. building at the industrial park as a way to develop interest in the property. Siegel using one of the front lots in the park as away to control what people see entering and leaving town. The commission is considering building a 10,000 to 14,000 square foot building.
Rogers asked if there had been any inquiries. DeJulia said there have been about 10 inquiries regarding the park including engineering firms, manufacturing and one specializing in solar power.
DeJulia noted a spec building would be just another tool to market the park. Another idea was a revolving loan fund, but DeJulia noted this type of loan had serious concerns should someone default.
“I think there’s an unfair anticipation that once this was done, it would go up immediately,” Siegel said. DeJulia noted there is no property in town available for business or residential expansion.
Siegel also noted those businesses that showed interest in the technology park eventually moved into existing buildings. DeJulia suggested partnering with a local contractor for the spec building and asking contractors to help get the word out about the park.
The commission also reviewed proposals from three realtors.
Siegel asked Rogers what was the best way to get the word out to realtors within a 100 mile radius of Syracuse about the park and an incentive the commission is offering to realtors who bring the town a buyer. Rogers said he would look to see if there was a state wide listing of realtors.
Discussion turned to advertising the park with billboards, advertising in newspapers out of state and highlighting the park in a video the town council is working on to market Syracuse.