Ready to grow
7 Mar 2017
Kevin Black sees a lot of potential at the corner of Webster Street and Riddle Street in Gowrie.
Three empty lots sit there, platted and ready for builders to put up the town’s next new housing.
To encourage growth here and throughout the town, the city of Gowrie is now offering grants of up to $40,000 for new construction, with help from the Gowrie Development Commission and the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance.
“We want to bring families in,” said Black, the president and chief executive officer of Heartland Bank who serves on the Gowrie Development Commission. “We want to bring taxpayers in, we want to fill the schools with kids.”
“There hasn’t been a lot of new housing construction in Gowrie in the last several years,” Mayor Gayle Redman added. “We’re always on the lookout to attract new people to town.”
For some time now, Gowrie has offered tax abatement programs for new home construction, Black said. Now, new builders can choose instead to get the funds at the beginning, instead of tax relief over 10 years.
“We’re finding people need that equity up front,” he said.
The program uses Tax Increment Financing. After a property is developed, TIF allows the city to collect 100 percent of the increase in the tax value of the property for a number of years.
It takes about seven years for funds to be made back through TIF, he said.
The city provides the funds from money it had on hand, Black said, in what amounts to an inner-account loan — from one city fund to the TIF fund.
A proposed new home must cost at least $150,000 to qualify, Black said, and the grant funds will pay 10 percent of the project’s cost. To get the $40,000 maximum amount, a proposed house must cost $400,000.