By Joy Hampton
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — The Legacy Park land dedication was approved Tuesday night by the Norman City Council as part of the approval of the preliminary plat for the Corporate Center for the University North Park. In addition, city council approved the purchase of an additional 30 acres in the TIF area by the Norman Economic Development Coalition.
NEDC will develop the property for an industrial and manufacturing area to attract quality jobs to the area. This 30 acres brings the total to 60 acres to be purchased by NEDC. The six plotted lots will be developed as part of an Advanced Manufacturing Center. A potential employer in the aerospace industry, which would bring quality jobs, is expected to make an announcement soon.
“What we look to in trying to set up one of these programs is incentives based,” NEDC Executive Director Don Wood said. “You don’t go into a deal and write somebody a check and hope they’re going to do what they say they’ll do. You have to have collateral.”
NEDC is a nonprofit organization and doesn’t pay property taxes on all property.
NEDC will construct a business park and advanced manufacturing center in the University North Park. The planned office park would feature six office building sites around a pond and landscaped area. The planned advanced manufacturing center would be located north of the office park, according to city staff reports.
In 2011, the Association of Central Oklahoma Governments received a grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration to develop a Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy for the four-county Central Oklahoma region that includes Oklahoma, Cleveland, Canadian and Logan counties.
NEDC “aggressively pursued federal grant funds to help further the development of the UNP office park and advanced manufacturing center,” according to city staff reports.
That effort paid off. The city was formally notified on Sept. 28 of EDA’s approval of the application in the amount of $2.5 million. The city council formalized that Tuesday by officially accepting the funds.
The Economic Development component of the University North Park Tax Increment Finance District outlined in the UNP TIF Project Plan provides for up to $8.25 million in funding for incentives to foster special employment opportunities and identifying 60 acres of land that could be purchased by the Norman Economic Development Coalition at discounted prices, in an effort to provide incentive tools for attracting future employers to Norman that meet the criteria of the Oklahoma Quality Jobs Act.
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