Community Reinvestment Areas--what do they mean?

Millcreek has four Community Reinvestment Areas—Canyon Rim Commons, Millcreek Center, Olympus Hills, and West Millcreek. You can find more details about each and maps of the areas here.

I’ve been asked what exactly is a Community Reinvestment Area (CRA) and what are the Cities plans for these areas, what development we are pursuing and what changes we hope to make.

A CRA is an area with designated boundaries that the City sees as having potential for redevelopment or new growth. State law (Title 17C Chapter 5) is very specific on how CRA’s are created and what the tax increment money can be used for. As changes occur in the CRA and new development brings increased business or increased value to the property, the City can use the increased tax revenue to go back into improvements within the CRA boundary. The CRA will not raise taxes, but the idea is that the new development and change will increase the tax revenue received and that increase, or tax increment, can then be applied back into improvements in the area.

Canyon Rim Commons is a good example. This area already has retail, but the existing businesses are changing--ie Dan's, Rite Aid, Silver Stare Hardware. It is all market driven. The City is not driving these changes, but it is an opportunity for the City to channel these changes to bring value and improvement to the area. The CRA is purposely set larger than the retail area so that we can apply the tax increment money received to that entire area and not just the retail space--the law only allows us to apply the tax increment money to improvements within the CRA. We don't anticipate changes in the entire area, but if we can apply some of the increment money to improve sidewalks or bury the crazy zig zag power poles, that enhances the area which in turn attracts more businesses and benefits Millcreek residents.

If you have any other questions, as always, I’m happy to answer in more detail.