LIHTC & Stellar

Linda Yoder

At the December meeting of the Culver Redevelopment Commission (CRC), Linda Yoder, Executive Director for the Marshall County Community Foundation (MCCF), made a presentation on One Marshall County. One Marshall County is the new umbrella organization that Marshall County Economic Development Corp (MCEDC) has spearheaded. Linda and I serve on the collaborative council discussing this new initiative and Linda had volunteered to make the presentation of the need for One Marshall County before the CRC. This also included a request for funding.

There were a few math errors in the presentation, but one of these jumped out at me was during the discussion of Stellar and the investment that Marshall County Crossroads brought to local communities. The numbers quite clearly did not include the investment from tax credits provided by IHCDA. The Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) provided by IHCDA amounted to the biggest single project investment from any of the State agencies involved in Stellar. In all, through the tax credits and loans, Plymouth and LaPaz shared $14 million dollars of investment in their communities with Riverside Commons. That investment didn’t show up in the presentation numbers. This is no shade on Linda! She didn’t prepare the numbers…

The Paddocks in Culver

This isn’t the first time for this. Culver received approximately $10 million in tax credits and loans for The Paddocks, but that number rarely shows up in their Stellar discussions. These would be huge contributors to the ROI discussion, since local investment in these projects was largely limited to in-kind waivers and some inhouse work. (Culver contributed nothing to The Paddocks project. Plymouth gave waivers on improvements to surrounding alleys. LaPaz waived sewer tap fees and secured matching INDOT funding to improve the street serving the project.)

Riverside Commons Plymouth

I think there are a couple of reasons for this lack of acknowledgment: 1) The Stellar Committees don’t really understand the program and 2) Unlike many of the project which were directly municipal projects, i.e. parks, trails, etc., that required more active involvement, the LIHTC portion of Stellar is directly administered by the project developer, so there isn’t a pass-through of dollars. The LIHTC award creates a private project. Where there was some shifting of dollars amongst the other municipal projects within the Stellar awards, that was not an option with LIHTC.

Riverside Commons – LaPaz, d.b.a. LaPaz Commons

Despite the success of The Paddocks in Culver’s Stellar Community program, Marshall County didn’t even include a LIHTC request in their first application for Stellar Region. I had lobbied for its inclusion and felt that the group slighted IHCDA by not accepting their offer. I lobbied a little harder in their second attempt and Riverside Commons was included in that application, which was successful. This was probably not the only reason, but I firmly believe it contributed to the success of the second application.

There have been some complaints about The Paddocks, but The Paddocks has met or exceeded all of the metrics set forth for it. The same can be said for Sand Hill Farm Apartments, the precursor project that made Culver Stellar and The Paddocks possible. It’s too soon to document that for Riverside Commons, which has different goals, but I have no reason to believe the results will be different. As far as community acknowledgement, the LaPaz and Plymouth councils have done a great job of recognizing Riverside Commons. They each have a Stellar agenda item on their council agendas and request updates for each meeting. Culver did not include The Paddocks in their Stellar reports to the council.

I think it’s a missed opportunity when the LIHTC investment is not celebrated and included in the ROI… But then, I’m obviously biased!

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