By ANDREA POTEET
Sunday Times Newspapers
ALLEN PARK – A retail development straddling Allen Park and Lincoln Park may begin construction early next year pending the signing of an interlocal agreement between the two cities.
But city officials here have mixed feelings about the development.
During a council study session Nov. 27, city councilors updated Emergency Financial Manager Joyce Parker on issues they have with the development, including a Wal-Mart on Southfield Road in Lincoln Park and a yet-to-be-determined retail outlet in Allen Park at the former Farmer Jack site on Southfield. Those issues included an inter-local agreement between the two cities that Allen Park has yet to sign.
Parker said Wednesday that the city is still finalizing the agreement and going over specifics with Lincoln Park.
One of those specifics included Lincoln Park’s assertion in the agreement that its police department would be the first responder for the development. As the Allen Park police station is just blocks from the space, some councilors thought that agreement may only work on paper, further straining the already short-staffed police department.
“And who’s the second responder if Lincoln Park doesn’t respond?” Councilman Harry Sisko asked. “There’s a common sense issue here that if Lincoln Park is dragged down in other things, who becomes the responder here? Allen Park.”
Parker said she intends to meet with Lincoln Park officials to discuss altering the agreement to mitigate the potential for Allen Park’s police department to respond to the area.
The development itself will be a case of “good news, bad news,” for the area, Plante & Moran’s Carl Johnson said. Though Wal-Marts tend to be built in areas with low property values, – some in that area sell for as low as $30,000 – and the developments tend to significantly increase house value, the increase in value would go to the Downtown Development Authority, as those houses sit in their district.
“The good news is it will be a nice development, it will increase the taxable values,” Johnson said. “But unfortunately, its in the DDA district, which means the DDA gets all the increase in the property tax from that area. The general fund will get no increase in tax money from that area. But if it increases (property values of) properties around (the DDA district), the general fund will see that.”