Council Approves Transfer of River Property to HMDA

by Tony E. Rutherford, News Editor
Council Approves Transfer of River Property to HMDA

Property formerly belonging to the Campbell Transportation Company along the Ohio River in an industrialized zone in the West End has been transferred to the Huntington Municipal Development Authority (HMDA). Huntington City Council voted 10-1 to authorize the transfer. District Two councilman Pete Gillespie cast the lone “no” vote.

A barge permit for the property already exists. HMDA earlier conditionally accepted the property pending council approval. The property had been donated to the City of Huntington last year.

Gillespie has continuously expressed objection to a barge facility locating there. Although the terms of the Huntington Marine settlement has not been made public, buzz points to the Westmoreland location replace by the location between a metal recycling business and a scrapyard.  The Westmoreland location had raised the furor of neighbors for nearly 20 years, as that site is a residential location.

HMDA will now seek offers to develop the property.

Gillespie has advocated that constituents in his district would object. Former councilman Tom McCallister , a resident of District 2, said that council previously listened for 20 years to “crying and moaning” from Westmoreland.[

Council Approves Transfer of River Property to HMDA

However, Gillespie admitted that he had not received any phone calls in opposition to the transfer of the  rumored barge facility.

The councilman inquired of Bell, whether his district would receive any economic benefits from the proposed development.

“HMDA gives back economic development and covers all areas of the city,” Bell explained. “I could not indicate that proceeds will be directed to one district.”

When asked by Gillespie about creating a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) designation, city attorney Scott McClure opined , “I think we have maxed out.”

A TIF district freezes property taxes at current levels in a designated area. As development stimulates increasing economic benefits, the increases are utilized within the boundary often for infrastructure improvements.

Unlike McClure, Bell did not rule out a TIF designation, adding, “it might be within providence to do so.”

Council Approves Transfer of River Property to HMDA

The riverfront property has been appraised at $1.5 million dollars.


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