February 20, 2024

Economic Enhancement District for Mile Square will not be repealed

Senate committee discusses a bill that would have repealed the EED. - Photo from Indiana General Assembly live stream

Senate committee discusses a bill that would have repealed the EED.

Photo from Indiana General Assembly live stream

Indianapolis’ planned economic enhancement district, or EED, will not be repealed. A bill put the funding tool at risk but an amendment saves the district - with some caveats.

The EED was approved by the Indianapolis City-County Council last year after 2023 legislation allowed the move. It charges a fee for property owners in the Mile Square district to support public safety, beautification and homelessness projects. 

It builds on efforts started using federal relief dollars. Representative Julie McGuire (R-Indianapolis) authored the bill and said the city didn’t need the tool.

“If Indianapolis believes the enhanced services provided with the ARPA funds are worthy to continue, they have the tools they need to provide this funding,” McGuire said.

Supporters of the EED argued that other municipalities use similar funding mechanisms.

The bill passed the Indiana House where apartment building owners spoke in favor of the repeal. An amendment passed in a Senate committee this week omits these owners but allows them to opt into the district. 

Senator Andrea Hunley (D-Indianapolis) urged those owners to support the move.

“I'm hoping that the majority of multi unit housing will choose to opt in and several that I've talked to seem to indicate that they would,” Hunley said.

The EED would provide about $5.5 million in revenue a year and is capped at that amount. It will also expire after 10 years and needs to be renewed.

The district will support Indianapolis’s first low-barrier shelter for people experiencing homelessness.

Senator Scott Baldwin (R-Noblesville) helped facilitate the amendment. “For us to move forward and provide Indianapolis with a way to care for itself downtown,” Baldwin said. 

Downtown Indy Inc. President and CEO Taylor Schaffer said it will enable consistency of service for those in the downtown core.

“To really think about how those services are being delivered, how we can be responsive to property owners and stakeholders and users of downtown 365 days a year,” Schaffer said.

The fee will not go into effect until 2025.

Contact WFYI city government and policy reporter Jill Sheridan at jsheridan@wfyi.org.


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