The city of Westfield plans to fund its proposed six-acre Grand Junction Plaza project with a $35 million bond that will be repaid with local income taxes and tax increment financing revenue.
The plan to use LIT and TIF funds will be presented during a Westfield City Council meeting Monday night.
City leaders have been planning to construct a downtown park southwest of Main and Union streets for more than a decade. A final design for the project, which will include a cafe and restaurant, an outdoor ice skating rink, a lawn, a performance stage and trails, was approved in January 2016. The plaza is expected to feature four quadrants with a series of modern glass-and-stone structures.
Additionally, more than 500 feet of Jersey Street will be reconstructed so it can be used as an event corridor and an extension of Grand Junction Plaza.
City leaders have spent the past two years prepping the site for construction and coming up with a plan to pay for the improvements. Early on, city officials said they’d likely issue a TIF-backed bond.
Vicki Duncan Gardner, Westfield’s director of communications, told IBJ the city will issue a $35 million bond anticipation note. When payments come due, the city will rely on LIT and TIF revenues. There will be no tax increase to pay for the project, she said. With a bond anticipation note, payments would be delayed for five years, she said.
The property the plaza will be constructed on is within the Grand Junction TIF district. The city expects to use revenue from that TIF to repay the bond. The TIF district had about $1 million of revenue in 2017, according to the latest data available from the Department of Local Government Finance.
If the Westfield City Council approves the proposed funding plan, construction on the plaza could start as soon as this summer. The plan could be voted on as soon as Feb. 25.