North Park: Monroe County’s Future, or Ghost Suburb?

6 Sep

North Park — more formally known as the State Road 46 Economic Development Area — is one of Monroe County’s 3 TIF districts. Appropriately, it lies along State Road 46, between Bloomington and Ellettsville. I think a lot of Monroe County residents would be surprised at how much infrastructure has been installed in North Park — and simultaneously how little development there is.

Map of the Curry Pike Extension at North Park

A number of streets have been stubbed out with full infrastructure (water, sewer, communications), along with sidewalks and multiuse trails. However, the most notable thing about area is that there is almost no development!

Yet unnamed street off of the Curry Pike extension into North Park

Normally, no development — and therefore no tax increment — is disastrous for a TIF district and a local unit of government. Because the increment is used to pay the bond, if there is no increment due to development, the TIF district can’t pay the bond for the infrastructure, and the local unit of government (city or county) is on the hook. However, the North Park TIF district was set up such that the infrastructure bond was backed by the developer (Steve Crider, hence the nickname “Criderville”). This means that when the tax increment is insufficient to make the bond payments, the developer, not Monroe County, is on the hook.

Currently, the only tenants of this section of North Park (the Curry Pike extension east of SR46) are some grazing cows behind an electrified fence.

The only current tenants of North Park

Multiuse trail at the end of the Curry Pike extension into North Park

The Curry Pike extension currently dead-ends into Hunter Valley. A bridge is in process that will eventually connect Curry Pike to Hunter Valley Road.

Eventual connection to Hunter Valley, via a bridge over the creek

Wastewater (sewage) treatment is provided by a small package wastewater treatment plant off of Hunter Valley Road.

Package wastewater treatment plant for North Park

All of the lots are wired with fiber and communications infrastructure.

Communications infrastructure

A yet-unnamed street perpendicular to Curry Pike ends in Stoutes Creek, which was frothy and very muddy after a pretty powerful rain earlier today.

Muddy water in Stoutes Creek

If you continue beyond the the end of the unnamed street to the north, a trail leads around and over Stoutes Creek to the construction staging area.

Construction staging area outside Stoutes Creek

The 2012 Capital Improvement Report for Monroe County’s 3 TIF districts reveals some aspirations for the North Park TIF district. A section labeled “Other Projects” states that “These projects may include, but not be limited to construction of a passenger rail service, bicycle and pedestrian paths, bus transit facilities, assistance with low-income housing, fiber optic conduit, and multi-level parking facilities.” So what is the future of North Park — the new urbanist dream promised by the TIF plan? Just another opportunity for suburban car-oriented sprawl? Or a really beautiful ghost suburb, populated by a herd of grazing cows?

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2 Responses to “North Park: Monroe County’s Future, or Ghost Suburb?”

  1. Dawn Hewitt September 7, 2012 at 9:41 am #

    I have birded this area many times in years past as part of the Indiana Breeding Bird Atlas project. Personally, I’d love to see this area sit idle for a very long time — for the sake of wildlife.

  2. Ben August 25, 2016 at 10:24 am #

    I know this post is pretty old, any idea what’s going on with North Park now? I saw there was a bid for it to be the new site for the Hospital but that doesn’t seem to have panned out? Is this ever going to get developed?

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