A tract of land is in the new proposed redevelopment area by Ho-Chunk Inc., the economic arm of the Winnebago Tribe.
If the Norfolk City Council approves the proposed West Highway 275 Phase II redevelopment area, located west of Norfolk, then any redevelopment projects within its borders will be able to apply for tax increment financing.
TIF allows redevelopers to use the property tax increases resulting from the project to repay their investment
Some have speculated that the Winnebago Tribe plans to build a casino in the area and use TIF to help pay for it. While Ho-Chunk does own a lot there, blighting that area would not be out of the ordinary, said Norfolk Mayor Josh Moenning.
“I know there’s a lot of speculation based on the fact that the 275 corridor was included in a recent blight study, but I guess I would say that if you go back just a few years, we’ve been continually bringing in more of that corridor into what’s considered a blighted area,” he said. “That’s nothing unusual. I think it’s worth noting that more than a third of the community, currently, is technically blighted. A lot of that blighted territory covers our highly trafficked areas.”
Moenning said Bradford Business Park was developed using the same process in a nearby area.
And if Ho-Chunk does want to build a casino on its lot, there’s no guarantee it will receive TIF to do it.
“Should there be any redevelopment process initiated, it will all be in a public light and be transparent and there will be opportunities for multiple public hearings,” Moenning said.
So whatever Ho-Chunk plans to do with its lot, there are still a lot of steps it would need to go through before it could use TIF.
The city council will vote on whether to blight the area following a public hearing at its Monday, June 21, meeting.
Ho-Chunk, Inc. was not able to be reached at time of press.