Year Created: 2000
Type: Enacted Directly by General Assembly (Act 159 of 2000)
Split of Increment:
Original: Education Fund = 95%/5% and Municipal General Fund = 100%/0%
Beginning 2004: Education Fund = 98%/2% and Municipal General Fund = 100%/0%
Across the river from Burlington, Winooski was an early center for wool processing and later a prosperous town where wool yarn and cloth were manufactured. For over a century, the textile mills fed a boom and bust local economy. At its height, the mills employed 3,000 people. However, when the mills were shuttered in the 1950s the city struggled for decades to reinvent itself. In the 1970s, well-intended urban renewal projects demolished two downtown city blocks for parking. In response to the late 70s energy crisis, local leaders seriously considered building a glass dome over downtown to reduce winter heating costs. By the 1980s, economic development efforts centered on conversion of the Champlain Mill into a shopping mall but by the early 2000s, the building was largely vacant and many viewed the city as Burlington’s poor cousin.
That’s not the case today. Winooski now bustles with excitement and activity, with hundreds of new housing units and downtown jobs, a popular farmer’s market and thriving night life.
After receiving state downtown designation in 2003, local officials reached out to residents to get involved and engaged in creating a new vision for Winooski. In 2004, the city set forth an action plan to create a place where people could walk to work and enjoy vibrant street life. The ambitious $175 million “Winooski Downtown Redevelopment Project” aimed to infill and revitalize the fragmented downtown area with new multi-story, mixed-use buildings and a 1200-vehicle parking structure. The work to make it happen kicked off with financing offered by the Department of Housing and Community Development, funding from the Vermont Agency of Transportation, and the creation of a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District to support major infrastructure improvements including new water, sewer, parking, sidewalks and streets. A new downtown in Winooski quickly emerged and its work won the city national recognition and a Smart Growth award in 2006.
Public investments of $47 million ($29.6 in TIF) have leveraged $94 million in private development. The base value of the District was about $25 million upon creation in 2000. The current value as of Grand List 2015 was $114.3 million, an increase in value of $89.5 million. Before the TIF District, the properties sent about $516,000 a year to the Education Fund. When the TIF debt is retired in a few years, the properties will send more than $1.9 million to the Education fund each year.
As of June 30, 2017:
Cumulative Public Investment ≈ $52,154,551
Cumulative Private Investment ≈ $89,200,000