Thursday morning a small group of Loveland downtown insiders, city staff and elected officials will convene in the city manager's conference room at 7:30 AM to approve a plan to authorize over $85,000,000 in public expenditures for the newly defined boundaries of downtown Loveland.
The plan calls for $35 million from the City of Loveland directly and another $17 million from "other" public sources in non-public infrastructure spending. An additional, $28 million is being called for in "public" infrastructure to compliment private improvements.
The group is the city's new DDA (Downtown Development Authority) headed by Texas transplant and owner of the successful downtown eatery MoBetta Gumbo, Clay Caldwell. Caldwell attempted to raise over $5 million from the city to acquire and renovate the Arcadia Hotel in downtown Loveland previously but was unsuccessful.
Caldwell now serves as largely a figure head for the city's effort spearheaded by Detroit transplant and economic development staffer Mike Scholl to renovate downtown Loveland. The group is approving Scholl's resolution to be presented to Loveland's City Council at a later meeting authorizing a TABOR (Taxpayers Bill of Rights) mandated voter approval for the November 3, 2015 election to create debt and divert taxes into the DDA. see meeting agenda and spending anticipated for the $85,000,000
Loveland downtown development is split between two organizations. One is to be the public entity authorized to collect taxes and raise public debt calling itself the Downtown Development Authority or DDA which is also taking over the former URA (Urban Renewal Authority). The other, Loveland Downtown Partnership (LDP), is headed by Harry Devereaux, President & CEO of Home State Bank, and will be making the spending decisions on where and how to expend public monies raised through the public authority of the DDA. Scholl, according to our sources, assured local businesses and city council that the DDA budget is only "preliminary" and that Caldwell and others on the DDA board will not be making any spending decisions reserved for the LDP.
DDA Connection to Sprouts $2.2 Million Subsidy
Jim Cox, Chairman of Loveland's Historic Preservation Commission and also board member of the LDP sent an email to LDP members shortly before the January 6, 2015 Loveland City Council vote to provide final approval of the $2.2 million Sprouts subsidy.
Cox explained in his email that Sprout's locating on the corner of Highways 287 & 34 was critical to the future funding of the DDA therefore everyone needed to come out and support the subsidy. Cox is also reported to have contacted members of his own Historic Commission and local businesses to encourage more people to attend the council meeting and show public support for the Sprouts subsidy in order to "support downtown."
Sprouts is critical to the DDA's funding as all new tax revenue and increased property taxes (called "increment" financing) will go directly into the DDA's treasury for the LDP instead of to the city should voters approve the new taxing authority this November. In addition, 50% of all sales taxes in downtown have already been diverted by the Loveland City Council into future downtown development activities so locating a new Sprouts into the official downtown area will divert future sales taxes as well. In other words, locating a new organic grocery store inside the new DDA boundaries (as opposed to the proposed Natural Grocer location outside the downtown boundaries) will divert millions of future tax dollars into downtown development activities instead of going to the county, schools and city.
Scholl extended the boundaries of Loveland's official downtown area far north of its traditional boundary last year to include the 5 parcels on the northeast corner of Highways 287 & 34 which became part of the Sprouts deal. On February 10, qualified electors (landowners, lessees and residents of the newly proposed downtown) approved the new boundary by voting in favor of Ballot Question 1 thus authorizing the creation of the new DDA boundaries.
Scholl has been rumored to be a candidate for the position of director of the new DDA where he has been directing companies but some on council have said they will not approve him taking that position.
Loveland Downtown Partnership (LDP) Rallies For Sprouts Subsidy