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Special Levy Proposed for Downtown Edmonton


Blog by Sara Kalke | August 25th, 2011


In the latest development in the attempt to fund a downtown arena in Edmonton, City council is proposing a special levy - not only for the arena, but for street-level improvements as well.  Below is the article from the Edmonton Journal, as well as a link to the full story, with more information.



Edmonton proposes larger special tax area downtown to pay for arena, other projects 

The boundaries of the proposed community revitalization levy (CRL) district would stretch from 97th to 109th streets between 100th and 106th avenues, according to a report released Aug. 25, 2011.

EDMONTON - The city is looking at making virtually all of downtown a special tax area to pay for parks, bikeways, sewers and other revitalization projects as well as a new arena.

The boundaries of the proposed community revitalization levy (CRL) district would stretch from 97th to 109th streets between 100th and 106th avenues, according to a report released Thursday.

This would cover more than 40 blocks, up from about 29 blocks under the original map released in April.

The levy, which collects money generated by new construction for civic property taxes and the provincial school portion of property taxes, is expected to bring in about $1.2 billion over 20 years, the report says.

That includes $241 million that would otherwise go to the province for school taxes, but under the CRL would go to city coffers.

Part of the money would be used for construction of the new arena ($45 million), and the land, LRT link and half the cost of a 104th Avenue pedway to the facility ($52 million).

But the city also wants to go ahead with 10 “catalyst” projects intended to stimulate downtown development, such as a park in the warehouse district ($48 million) and Jasper Avenue streetscape improvements ($61 million).

“These projects have been carefully chosen to focus investment where it is expected to do the most good in supporting private development while enhancing the vibrancy and economic well-being of the downtown.”

Money from the levy would cover the cost of borrowing money to build these structures, and the report insists the potential revenue is based on an “extremely conservative” development forecast.

Any CRL must be approved by the provincial government. The city is now negotiating a deal to build a $450-million arena with Oilers owner Daryl Katz.

The levy will be discussed at Wednesday’s city council meeting.

More to come …

gkent@edmontonjournal.com