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Questions raised as Valparaiso Council considers Linc financing

Valparaiso
provided by City of Valparaiso
rendering of the Linc development proposed for Downtown Valparaiso

As the Valparaiso City Council considers financing arrangements for the Linc development, questions are also being raised about how it got to this point. The $37 million project would replace the Round the Clock restaurant on Lincolnway with three four-story apartment buildings with ground floor retail space.

During the public comment portion of Monday's council meeting, resident Daniel Dunevant read a comment he found online, accusing city officials of closing the process off from local residents. "'Stay out of our central neighborhood with your ugly high-rises! Where are all these cars going to be driving in our crumbling streets? Where are all these kids going to be going to school?'" Dunevant read.

Council Member Robert Cotton said the project was pretty far along by the time he'd heard about it and questioned whether the recent Elevate Valpo plan was created simply to justify it.

City Attorney Patrick Lyp said discussions likely began in the spring of 2021. "We're always entertaining developers or residents, individuals who have an interest in developing in the community. Again, some projects work. Some projects don't," Lyp explained.

The city council is considering an ordinance to issue up to $3.3 million in economic development revenue bonds. Lyp said that debt will eventually be rolled into a larger bond that will also finance a parking garage to go along with the apartments. The Linc has also gotten $5.6 million in redevelopment tax credits from the Indiana Economic Development Corporation.