Urban renewal is a financial tool that funds projects and activities in an urban renewal area which have been identified in an urban renewal plan. The purpose of urban renewal is to make public investments in designated geographic areas to remove blight, to improve property values, and to leverage private investment. Public investments spur redevelopment in areas where it might not otherwise occur.
Urban renewal uses Tax Increment Financing to improve and redevelop designated areas of a city by reinvesting the increase in the area’s property taxes. When an urban renewal area is created, the assessed property value within the district is set (or “frozen”), and those taxes continue to go to the taxing jurisdictions (such as city, county, school district). Any increase in the tax assessed value that occurs in that area (referred to as the “increment”) is collected by the urban renewal district to use for redevelopment projects identified in the urban renewal plan. Each plan includes a timeline and/or funding capacity (called “Maximum Indebtedness”), under which it must operate. When the projects in a plan are complete and funding is expended, the area closes and the taxing jurisdictions begin receiving their full share of taxes.