Having lived many places I have never seen a municipality with quite the same propensity for shooting itself in the foot as Frankfort.
In addition, I came of age in a similar town whose "urban renewal" project in the 1960s gutted a charming town center for a shopping mall that was ill-conceived and went bust within a year. It took 50 years for the town to finally recover. (Google it: Rockville, Maryland Urban Renewal project).
With all due respect to our current city commission, arguing over the construction of the parking garage at this junction is a moot point. It was an original condition by the state. In my opinion, accepting that condition was a reasonable risk for the opportunity to finally get a significant part of downtown into private, taxpaying ownership.
I won't pretend to understand the intricacies of TIF financing. However, on the most basic level it seems no different from what most householders do for things they don't have ready cash to purchase. We finance them, sometimes with great terms, sometimes not so great depending on current economic conditions. This is much the same.
My understanding is that if the federal grant is approved we get the parking garage (mandatory, remember) with significantly less local cash to outlay. That will be one less condition the developer will need to meet.
I believe this is a golden opportunity for Frankfort to make a significant change for the better. Retail, residential, commercial, office spaces — all these will provide revenue in the form of property taxes and local payroll taxes. Additionally, people who live here — spend money here. Non-resident state workers spend lunch money in our community, that's about it.
Also worth noting — now that it's proven folks can be effective working remotely — we may not even get back the pre-COVID state workforce population.
We have a developer ready to make a major financial commitment to our community. I think we need to get started ASAP.
Anne B. Cockley