City Council Starts Discussions About Entertainment District | News

The city of Norman changed Tuesday night’s city council agendas to include beginning discussions on a possible tax-increment financing district in the northern University North Park area to support the proposed $1 billion entertainment district.

Ward 7 Councilman Stephen Tyler Holman confirmed with OU Daily in a text Monday night that Tuesday’s special meeting will begin the public process to learn more about the details of the proposed entertainment district and whether it’s something Norman residents do or don’t want.

Holman wrote that a statutory review committee and the TIF Citizens Advisory Board will look at the discussion and information.

The city of Norman initially released agendas for Tuesday’s special and regular city council meetings Thursday. Those agendas did not include mention of the entertainment district for TIF discussions at the time.

The Norman City Council will consider adopting a resolution declaring intent to consider a project plan and creation of one or more tax increment districts. The resolution states that the city of Norman wants to develop or assist development in the area of ​​Interstate 35 between Tecumseh Road and Robinson Street.

Resolution to be discussed at the November 14, 2023, Norman City Council meeting regarding a tax increment district.

The decision states that the development of the area depends on the use of tax subsidy financing to help the public costs of the project.

A TIF is used to support redevelopment, infrastructure and community improvement projects within a specific area with the goal of stimulating private investment in the area in need of economic revitalization.

A staff report posted as part of Tuesday night’s agenda read:

“Under the proposal, a combination of university and private resources would combine to fund approximately 40% of the total arena construction costs, while the university would only use approximately 25% of the event dates. Team Norman has asked the city to consider funding the remainder of the ​​the construction costs as well as some additional infrastructure using tax increment financing.”

Team Norman, city and university leaders proposed a $1 billion entertainment district on Sept. 6. The proposed location for the district is planned at Rock Creek Road and 24th Avenue Northwest, the northern part of the University North Park area.

Team Norman said in September that 80% of the plan’s $1 billion cost USD would be covered through private funds and the remaining 20% ​​would come through public sources.

In September, Holman said it was up for debate how the 20% would be funded.

The resolution would create an audit committee to consider the economic impact of the TIF and report its findings to the Norman City Council. The Norman Planning Commission will review the proposed project plan and make a recommendation to the City Council.

The review committee will consist of one representative each from the Norman City Council — who will serve as chair — Norman Planning Commission, Cleveland County, Norman Public Schools, Cleveland County Health Department, Moore-Norman Technology Center and Pioneer Multi-County Library System. The committee will also have three representatives from the public, including at least one from the city’s business community, who will be selected from a list of seven names submitted by the committee chairman.

The resolution would make Norman Mayor Larry Heikkila the Norman City Council representative and chairman of the audit committee.

This would be the fourth TIF in Norman; the first is Campus Corner, the second is in University North Park, where Target and Crest are located, and the third is Center City, which includes Main Street, Porter Avenue, and Gray Street.

The TIF will include ad valorem taxes as well as sales taxes in the area, similar to the other TIFs, except Center City, which only includes ad valorem taxes.

This story was edited by Peggy Dodd, Taylor Jones and Alexia Aston.

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