CIB meeting

Tribune-Star/Howard Greninger

Vigo County Capital Improvement Board Wednesday approved a local financial agreement for a new downtown convention center.

A fourth agency has been added to fund a new downtown Terre Haute Convention Center, projected to cost about $32.5 million including bond issue expenses and land acquisition costs.

The Vigo County Capital Improvement Board Wednesday signed an interlocal joint financing agreement adding the Terre Haute Redevelopment Commission, which can utilize downtown tax increment financing (TIF) money toward the project.

The redevelopment commission is to pay $3 million, from TIF funds, while the city of Terre Haute and Vigo County each will pay $10 million from Economic Development Income Taxes. The Terre Haute Convention & Visitors Bureau will pay $5 million, with that coming from an increase in the county's innkeeper tax.

Additionally, the Terre Haute Redevelopment Commission will seek to issue a $4.5 million TIF bond "to facilitate the construction of the hotel parking garage, on the northwest (section) of the property," CIB Attorney Brian Bosma told the board.

"That is what the money is for in the TIF," Mayor Duke Bennett, a member of the CIB, said after the meeting.

"We have the cash on hand, we don't have to borrow anything. We have structured it in a way that really works pretty well as there are so many different pieces," the mayor said.

Bennett said this will also enable the city to move forward with a proposed new Terre Haute Police station as far as funding capability.

"We wanted to make sure that this is all part of the calculation -- that none of this would jeopardize that police station project, so we are good for both projects," Bennett said.

"Now we are going to finalize the financing for the police station. It will be in the next couple of months -- we will finalize that. The design is good to go, and we have already moved all the utilities. We just have to bid out the project, once we get that financial structure in place," Bennett said.

Bennett said a new convention center, with a new hotel, along with a proposed new police station "will be a game changer for downtown."

The interlocal agreement, required to sell bonds for the project, must next be approved by the Terre Haute Economic Development Corp., as well as the Terre Haute City Council and the Vigo County Council and the Terre Haute Convention and Visitors Bureau.

In all, total financial costs for the downtown center is projected at $31.5 million, excluding property acquisition.

With another $1 million for land acquisition, Bosma said, that brings the total to about $32.5 million.

The project will require four city lots.

Of those, one lot would be donated from Fontanet Land Co., owned by Terre Haute businessman Gregory L. Gibson. However, three other lots are to be acquired - two lots from Dora Hotel Company and one lot from Clabber Girl Corp.

Editor's note: This story and headline were corrected at 5 p.m. to reflect total costs now are projected at $32.5 million, including land acquisition and bond costs. The CIB projects it will have $32.45 million in total available funds.