Hickok Zarah TIF District Proposal
Posted on Jun 2nd, 2023

The City of Shawnee is proposing a special financing district known as a conservation tax increment financing district.  The proposed area is bounded by K-7 on the west, Shawnee Mission Parkway on the north, Martindale and Woodland on the east and 83rd Street on the south contains the largest remaining tracts of undeveloped land dedicated to residential development in the community.  The development area provides opportunities for transportation connections to K-7, recreational connections to the Gary Haller Trail and Shawnee Mission Park, walking connections to Horizon Elementary School and Maranatha Christian Academy and the opportunity for regional stormwater management amenities. 
The full potential of area cannot be realized, however, without a significant amount of public and private infrastructure development. The creation of a unique funding source to effect public investment and leverage private development is critical to the City’s effort to cause development to pay for development.
The Hickok-Zarah Development Area comprises 1,648 acres, approximately 2.58 square miles, in western Shawnee, largely between Monticello and Woodland, from Shawnee Mission Parkway to the southern City boundary just north of 83rd Street. The bulk of the southern two-thirds of the area is undeveloped, unplatted, lacking internal infrastructure and suffering from topographical challenges.
The City of Shawnee proposes to create a tax increment financing (TIF) district across the entire Hickok Zarah Development Area. The City proposes to qualify the area as a ”conservation district.” Pursuant to KSA 12-1770a, a conservation district is an “improved area comprising 15% or less of the land area within the corporate limits of a city in which 50% or more of the structures in the area have an age of 35 years or more, which area is not yet blighted, but may become a blighted area ”due, among other things, to inadequate utilities and infrastructure; dilapidation, obsolescence or deterioration of structures; and, the presence of structures below minimum code standards.”
Once created, the Hickok-Zarah Development Area TIF District can host one or more TIF project plans, proposed either by the City or by private developers to fund priority infrastructure.  Unlike a ”typical” TIF, tax increment generated in the Hickok-Zarah Development Area will be used to fund critical infrastructure, including internal infrastructure and key connections to adjacent arterial streets, trails and regional parks.
While the list can change over time, potential infrastructure priorities include:
Intersection improvements at 75th and K-7
Curb/gutter improvements to ditch section streets
Improvements to Woodland Dr. north of 83rd
Neighborhood connections to regional parks and trails
Regional stormwater management amenity
Internal streets to support residential development
Infrastructure necessary to support small neighborhood-scale retail development
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