The Bridgeport NEWS
Thursday, June 22, 2006
Annexations are not a rarity in Bridgeport. In fact, there have been dozens of them in recent years. Some small. Some not so small.
Few, if any, in the history of the city could rival what took place Monday. At that time, Bridgeport City Council gave its final stamp of approval on an annexation of 1,057.8 acres at the Charles Pointe development. Even without an exact history of the city annexations available, we’d find it hard to believe there have been any bigger than what took place.
Council’s approval (followed by what should be quick approval by the Harrison County Commission on the petition annexation request) will do more than just add a substantial piece of property to the Bridgeport land mass. It should set the stage for what could be a domino effect of major development.
Officials with Genesis Partners – the group responsible for the overall development of Charles Pointe – have long said they would bring the bulk of their property into the city limits when development was about to occur. Initially, that development on much of the acreage will involve the installation of infrastructure.
Genesis Partners is bringing the land into Bridgeport mainly because the property in question will be part of a Tax Increment Finance (TIF) District. As a TIF district, money over and above frozen property values will be used to pay for infrastructure, which will be financed through the sale of bonds. Right now, a bond sale that will facilitate infrastructure at Charles Pointe is in the works.
Even though people don’t often get excited about seeing water and sewer lines being installed or watching roads being paved or land being cleared and leveled, it’s a big step in fulfilling the promise of Charles Pointe that was offered when the project was publicly announced in October of 2000. And for those who remember, the promise was for a planned community with a total development price tag of $750 million.
While there are several projects complete, several ongoing, several in the planning stages and several more being negotiated, the next major piece of the Charles Pointe puzzle is being put into place. Once that happens, there is a very real possibility that the pace of the development will pick up and the number of the projects will multiply.
According to Genesis Partners Managing Partner James A. Corton, when it comes to projects at the development, he says: "Internally it has broken loose." In a quick translation of terms, that means the developers has a full plate of suitors interested in setting up shop, establishing a home or taking advantage of services at Charles Pointe.
If Corton is correct – and we have no reason to believe he’s not – then that’s good news for the city. Although getting to this point has taken a little longer that all involved – from city leaders to Genesis Partners officials – would have liked, getting the necessary infrastructure in place, securing funding for items such as infrastructure, and doing proper planning for all aspects of this massive development takes time.
In the end, it should be all worth it as the Charles Pointe community appears ready to bear fruit. When that happens, it may be hard to find to few, if any, instances in the city’s history or in the city’s future where more development has taken place.