Midtown Economic Council
About the MEC
The Midtown Economic Council (MEC) was formed to support, promote, and advocate for the economic development goals and objectives of the North Midtown Economic Development Area and related Tax Increment Finance (TIF) district.
The MEC is organized as an affiliate board of Midtown Indy and is comprised of representatives appointed by five stakeholder organizations which serve a dozen neighborhoods in or near the North Midtown Economic Development Area.
These organizations include:
- Midtown Indy
- Mapleton-Fall Creek Development Corporation
- Butler Tarkington Neighborhood Association
- Meridian Kessler Neighborhood Association
- Broad Ripple Village Neighborhood Association
The MEC reviews projects within the Midtown Economic Development Area for potential TIF investment. Recommendations of the MEC are presented to the Indianapolis Metropolitan Development Commission (MDC) for consideration with requests for project and/or infrastructure investments using TIF dollars directly or through bond issuance.
Questions about the Midtown TIF?
Objective of the MEC
In early 2009, neighborhood leaders in parts of Midtown Indianapolis gathered informally with the purpose to advocate for economic reinvestment and activation of economic tools to help stimulate growth and redevelopment in Indianapolis’ Midtown.
In March of 2013, after more than four years of advocacy, the MEC and its partners secured the North Midtown Tax Increment Finance District, The MEC was formally recognized by the Indianapolis City-County Council in an advisory capacity related to the community’s interests in the North Midtown TIF and Economic Development Area. The Council charged the MEC with to making recommendations to the City-County Council and Metropolitan Development Commission related to the investment of TIF proceeds.
The MEC met with the City’s Metropolitan Development Commission (MDC) to share its guiding principles and seek the MDC’s cooperation in implementing the TIF over decades to come. The MEC pledged to develop clear goals and objectives (as well a process that would encourage projects) which were:
- Consistent with Transit Oriented Development (TOD) principles
- Transit supportive of residential density
- Urban in design/include an appropriate strategy for parking
- Mixed use
- Equitable in providing jobs, attracting residents, and benefiting existing residents and businesses
- Contributes to or enhances the public realm
|Organization||Primary Member||Alternate Member||Staff Member|
|Broad Ripple Village Association||Mark Demerly||Elizabeth Marshall||Colleen Fanning|
|Butler-Tarkington Neighborhood Association||Neil Bloede||Chris Meier||N/A|
|Mapleton Fall Creek Development Corporation||Tyson Domer||Doug Day||Leigh Riley Evans|
|Meridian Kessler Neighborhood Association||Matthew Dickerson||Nick Colby||Chelsea Marburger|
|Midtown Indy, Inc.||Cassie Roby||Michael McKillip|
Midtown TIF | Tax Increment Financing District
In March of 2013, the City of Indianapolis approved the Midtown Tax Increment Finance District which was designed and sought by Midtown residents, business owners, and neighborhood leaders. The TIF is part of a proactive strategy to attract major new private investment in specific commercial areas as part of a larger effort to stem the tide of urban flight that has challenged our collective neighborhoods and our city in recent decades and to improve the quality of life for residents.
Stakeholders strategically selected areas or “nodes” to addresss both the specific challenges unique to each node, but also to realize the economic potential of each node for the district and city at large. While there are baseline common elements of vacancy, blight, and under utilization, each selected node has unique market challenges and offers unique opportunities to meet the diverse needs of Midtown’s neighborhoods. These considerations led stakeholders to identify five nodes to receive “priority” status inside of the TIF district.
The goal is “catalytic” development of the variety that is most likely to spur additional private investment.
Additional goals include increasing residential density and the concentration of mixed-use developments, and bringing vital services to adjacent neighborhoods. The term of the TIF, 25 years, meant that early investments must be carefully considered to ensure long-term performance.
To replicate successful development strategies elsewhere, nodes were chosen to specifically encourage major private investment in areas adjacent to key public amenities like the Central Canal, Tarkington Park, the Monon Trail, and key commercial corridors like 38th Street and College Avenue. Areas like 30th and Central were chosen to encourage private investment to parallel existing publicly funded efforts to stabilize and grow housing options along with the provision of vital services and new amenities.
The prescribed solution for each node varies in large part by market conditions or obstacles present in each node and the respective aspirations stakeholder groups have for their respective node(s). The overall strategy will link the selected nodes and their respective neighborhoods through the TIF. This allows generated tax increment to be shared throughout the district between stronger markets and weaker markets. The arrangement encourages bold market solutions, those which could flourish if barriers to development could be overcome.
Tax increment financing only captures increment or newly generated taxes from “new development” or “redevelopment” and not from the existing tax base. So projects which don’t generate tax income or which require subsidy greater than the increment they generate must be accompanied by projects which are net increment generators. Without projects that generate increment, the TIF is essentially useless as a tool because it would have no revenue to encourage development, or, the money would run out faster than generated. The value of the TIF is in its power to leverage market investment. Those investments and the revenue they generate are the key to increasing the tax base in the long run.