Focus on industry to benefit city
By Mike Mathes
This scene from the summer of 2015 will be familiar over the next several years, as work is planned in conjunction with Tax Incremental District #5. Sixth Street is among the next streets that will see a major facelift, as Paine Street did this past year.

In the baseball movie Field of Dreams, the main character had a vision, “If you build it they will come.”

Planned development in the City of Kiel has taken a similar approach in recent years. The city has used its tax incremental tool options to assist local industry with expansions that will translate into jobs and other economic benefits for Kiel and the surrounding areas.

“Our philosophy has been to look at our Tax Incremental Districts as a tool for our major industries to grow,” Mayor Mike Steinhardt said.

“All of that growth will feed the smaller businesses in our community. When job numbers increase, people will need goods and services. It will also drive real estate and home development.”

The concept of development in TIDS has been at the forefront of Kiel planning since the late 1980’s, at a time when the mayor was a city alderman.

“It has been at the heart of our philosophy to keep a stable and low cost tax and utility environment here in Kiel,” he said.

“Businesses and residents alike want their costs to remain low, and they want to know they will stay that way.”

Following the plan

Kiel is nearing the fourth quarter of its 20-year comprehensive plan, approved in 2002. The plan mapped out how expansion should take place in Kiel. “It still looks good almost 15 years into the plan. Much of what was talked about is coming to fruition.

This year, Mayor Steinhardt is hoping to rekindle the Economic Development Committee to start the planning effort for the next stages of Kiel’s development. “We have a bit of a quandary as to what direction we should go next,” he said.

Currently, the city has run out of small industrial lots. All residential TID work by the city has been completed.

Some small commercial opportunities exist, but much of that depends on how the existing TIDs come to conclusion.

TID #2 will close out over the next year, putting $15 million back on the tax roles. While the number is impressive, it marks only about 1/4 of the amount that was developed in TID#3. The financial advantage of that TID’s closure a few years back was the city’s ability to finance the construction of the Kiel firehouse addition.

Although TID #2 may not bear the same financial windfall, the mayor said one of its advantages was to help reclaim

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