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Austin Landing Project in Miami Township Back on Track After New Vote
MIAMI TOWNSHIP -- Austin Landing's Phase II project is back on track for construction. It was put on hold earlier this week, due to a deadlock vote by Miami Township Trustees.
Miami Township Trustee Charles Lewis, who was absent from Tuesday's meeting, broke the deadlock vote made by Trustee Mike Nolan and Deborah Preston.
The trustees approved a resolution providing RG Properties, Austin Landing's developer, $10.8 million of public funding to complete the project. Developer Randy Gunlick presented a changed plan to trustees weeks ago, which downsized the original project.
The changes include an elimination of an ice rink, movie theater, parking garage and retail businesses. There will be additional office space and restaurants.
"We have developed a plan that can be very successful, maybe more successful than the original plan but reduce the spending that the township committed to by four-and-a-half million and reduce our request by ten-and-a-half million," said Randy Gunlock, president of RG Properties.
Miami Township trustees originally approved $15 million for Phase II. The money is generated from the Township's TIF (Tax Increment Financing District), which includes property taxes.
"We asked the developer to take on that responsibility should there not be enough taxes to cover the tax service and he agreed to do that in Phase II, so it's no longer our burden if it would fail, we don't believe that's going to happen," said Mike Nolan, Miami Township Trustee.
Nolan doesn't consider the money taxpayers dollars, but Trustee Deborah Preston disagrees. She says the money being used to finance the project is from the taxpayers and they are getting a bad deal.
"We've had layoffs, we've had cuts, we've been unable to fill positions so we will have to regroup and figure out how we move forward from here because it is using taxpayer dollars," Preston said.
Still, some of those taxpayers think since the project will create nearly 4,000 new jobs, it's worth it.
"I'm glad it's moving forward because when I heard that it wasn't I was sad for the people who already opened their stores here," said Cathy Barnes Miller of Miami Township.
Construction of Phase II for Austin Landing is now expected to begin in early spring.
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