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Deer Creek Center Funding Rejected by Commission

Members of the commission said the requested funding was not in the best interest of St. Louis County as a whole.

An $8.5 million request in public funding to help pay for Deer Creek Center's redevelopment was rejected by a 12-member commission Wednesday night.

The commission was created to advise Maplewood City Council on whether it should provide public funding to , a private company that also owns the property.

Representatives from the City of Maplewood, the Maplewood Richmond Heights Board of Education and St. Louis County .

The commission voted 7-5 against the use of public dollars. The only commission members to support the funding were appointed by the city council and MRH school board.

At issue is of public funding—this time in the form of —which Summit representatives have repeatedly said is necessary.

TIFs are granted by local governments to help developers pay for a project by using future taxes. Certain taxes that normally would flow to cities, school districts and other taxing entities, including St. Louis County, would instead be used to pay off loans for a development project. After a specified period of time, that tax revenue is returned to the taxing entities. TIFs typically are used for projects that otherwise wouldn't be done without the special tax breaks.

City Manager Marty Corcoran said there have been many attempts in the past 10 years to redevelop the Deer Creek area—with and without tax breaks. It was recently designated as a blighted area by city council.

"In the city's eyes, it cannot be done without a TIF," Corcoran said.

Pam Reitz, director of administration for St. Louis County, said tax-increment financing would not alleviate the problems that caused Deer Creek Center to become blighted in the first place.

"The layout of the center is inaccessible, and the redevelopment would not correct that," Reitz said, adding that using a TIF would take tax dollars and sales away from other areas in the county.

After the meeting, Mayor James White shared his disappointment.

"This is the way the county votes," said White in reference to the six commission members. "If it isn't good for them, it isn't good for anyone else, and that's unfortunate."

What's next?

City council can still approve the project with the support of five of seven members—an outcome White expects. The next city council meeting is scheduled for Feb. 14, with a final vote expected during a meeting on Feb. 28.

Scott Reese, principal and president of Summit Development, also remains optimistic.

"Obviously we're disappointed in the outcome and the county's take on the project, but, as you can tell, we have the support of Maplewood and we plan to keep moving forward with the project," Reese said.

Learn more about the project

If you're new to this story, Patch has written several stories about the proposed redevelopment:

  • (Jan. 20, 2012)
  • (Dec. 14, 2011)
  • (Nov. 14, 2011)
  • (Oct. 18)
  • (Sept. 15, 2011)
  • (July 13, 2011)
Philip Scherry January 27, 2012 at 07:48 PM
Ryan, it would be helpful if you have graphics of the proposed designs
Ryan Martin (Editor) January 27, 2012 at 09:06 PM
The city provided me with a few booklets a couple weeks ago. I'll take another peek when I return to my home office to see if any drawings are available.

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