For nearly 10 years, Middletown has been planning to make improvements to the Atlantic Beach District. Sloths and glaciers move at a faster pace then approving this project. Slow moving things aside, the Middletown Economic Development Advisory Committee (MEDAC) is making some moves.
They have concept art for what the beach district will look like, which is stunning. They are also talking about the TIF or tax incremental financing. It’s a fancy term for taking the property tax for properties in the Atlantic Beach District along Aquidneck Ave, and putting that money into a pot set aside to pay off the money owed on this project. Normally, property taxes just go to the general fund.
All in all, this would be a great move for the town BUT it needs to be done right.
There are some concerns that the town needs to address before moving forward. The big one that comes to mind is not pricing residents out of their properties. If the Atlantic Beach District is improved it could make those properties more desirable and drive up the property taxes. If that happens, some residents may find they are no longer able to afford to live there.
Several steps need to happen before any ground is broken and money allotted to pay for a project of this magnitude. One hope is that we don’t have to wait another decade to make a decision to scrap the idea or move forward.