Three areas in Heber City have received approval from Lt. Gov. Deirdre Henderson to move ahead with community reinvestment financing.
A CRA (community reinvestment agency) is a tool that local governments can use to generate tax increments to reinvest in the designated areas. It’s not a new tax, but a way to capitalize on increasing tax value.
Heber City Manager Matt Brower said the city government hopes to turn the downtown Heber area into a destination where people want to visit for the shopping and dining offerings.
“What this allows for is for local governments to begin realizing more investment, which then hopefully spurs more private investment,” he said. “And in the case of Heber, what we hope to do is really transition our downtown into an area of destination, as well as the area around the Heber Creeper.”
The project areas include old downtown Heber, Midway Lane, and 600 W, which is home to the Heber Creeper locomotive station.
Brower said the Heber Creeper is the number one tourist attraction for Wasatch County.
“Our next step is to begin identifying the project area plan and the project area budget,” he said. “And then the third step which is running parallel with the second step is to negotiate interlocal agreements with (Wasatch) County and the (Wasatch School District).”
Brower said state law requires 10% of the tax increment fund affordable housing. They have discussed the plan with county and school district leaders.
“We’ve indicated that it would be appropriate to invest in housing for teachers and firefighters and the police officers,” he said. “Prices for housing in Wasatch County have only gotten higher and higher to make it difficult for our community’s heroes to find a place to live. And so we see that as one of the top priorities of the CRAs to ensure that we honor the state law and we invest that 10%, if not more, to help with some of the critical affordable housing needs.”
Brower said the next steps are to get the interlocal agreement signed, certify the area boundaries and collect the increment.