The Stillwater City Council is planning for a larger turnout Monday when it holds a public hearing on creating incentive districts to help fund the redevelopment of the city’s old power plant at Boomer Lake.
The council will meet at 5:30 p.m. as usual, but the meeting has been move from City Hall to the Stillwater Community Center, 315 W. 8th Ave., to allow room for social distancing.
Lakeview Landing LLC proposes repurposing Boomer Lake Station and several other tracts of land surrounding the City of Stillwater’s moth-balled power plant for a multi-use development.
The project includes two additional tracts of land owned by the City of Stillwater and two tracts at the corner of Boomer and Lakeview roads where Quality Water and a LifeNet ambulance station are located. The developer has said it also has deals in place for two additional tracts located south of the plant that currently have on them an apartment complex and the long-empty building that once housed Kyoto Japanese restaurant.
The development proposal paints a picture of the defunct power plant being transformed into a the centerpiece of a “unique and inviting entertainment venue and mixed use development, anchored by a world class farm-to-table brewpub restaurant, a rooftop deck overlooking the beach of Boomer Lake, with an outdoor venue and stage, together with a supporting planned development of the adjoining properties for retail, hospitality, entertainment, and residential uses.”
The development is meant to complement recreational opportunities offered by Boomer Lake Park, which is located across Lakeview Road and would include creating beachfront area on Boomer Lake, according to a project plan report.
The area is part of an Oklahoma Department of Commerce-designated enterprise zone that qualifies for tax credits, tax abatements and other incentives to attract investment and spur revitalization.
According to the city’s report, the area around Boomer Lake Station also qualifies as a reinvestment area under the Oklahoma Land Development Act.
An area can be considered blighted and qualify as a reinvestment area when structures are dilapidated, obsolete, deteriorated, vacant, haven’t been well maintained, cover too much land or have inadequate utilities, among other reasons.
“The abandoned BLS Power Plant is obsolete and constitutes a liability to the redevelopment of the site... The Project Area and Increment Districts qualify as a “reinvestment area” because they are in an area requiring public improvements to serve as a catalyst to reverse economic stagnation or decline, to expand employment, to attract major investment in the area, and to enhance the tax base,” the report says.
The project would require the construction and repair of public improvements and infrastructure like streets, sidewalks, landscaping, bike paths and trails and parking areas, among other things.
The creation of a beachfront, bank improvements and docks are included in that. A beachfront operation and maintenance agreement with private development agreements would also be part of the agreement.
The developer is asking for financing assistance and public improvements totaling $9.3 million. The total private investment expected is estimated to exceed $30 million. Public investments is estimated at $4.5 million, according to the report.
The City of Stillwater will be considering the creation of two new Tax Increment Financing Districts, one to cover the land owned by the City, which is currently tax-exempt, and one to cover the surrounding privately-owned property. The districts would include both property tax and sales tax.
The project was reviewed by a committee consisting of a representative from the City of Stillwater, a representative from the Stillwater Planning Commission, and a representative from the affected taxing districts, Payne County, Stillwater Public Schools Payne County Health Department and Meridian Technology Center.
The committee found that the proposed project meets eligibility conditions and recommends that the City Council approve the plan, including TIF districts No. 4 and No. 5.
Anyone wishing to address the council can sign up at stillwater.org or in-person at the meeting site before the meeting begins.
Stillwater City Council meetings are live streamed online and broadcast on Suddenlink channel 14 and AT&T U-verse channel 99.