Hillsborough County’s decision to approve a $6.5 million agreement to help fund road work in the Brandon area opens the door for Bass Pro Shops to build a new location here.
Commissioners voted 6-1 during their Feb. 20 meeting to reimburse the developer for roadwork related to the mixed-use project that will ultimately house Bass Pro. Commissioner Kevin Beckner cast the lone opposition vote.
Commission Chairman Ken Hagan has spearheaded the effort to bring Brass Pro to the county. He’s touted the county will spend $6.25 million to help the project and end up with nearly $3 million a year in property and sales taxes in return. The property where the development will be located currently generates about $800 a year in property taxes, Hagan said.
Beckner said the county lacked direction on when taxpayer dollars should be used for economic development. He, however, isn’t against the idea of Bass Pro Shops coming to the county.
“I’m voting in support for Bass Pro coming here, I’m just not voting in support of them building their business on the backs of taxpayers,” he said of his decision to vote against the cost-sharing agreement.
Under the agreement, the following constructions projects will be undertaken by the developers, I-75/Palm River Road and Florida Crossroad LTD:
- Creating an extension of Palm River Road from its current terminus to Falkenburg Road
- Widening Falkenburg to six lanes from the Selmon Expressway to Palm River Road
- Adding signalization of the intersection of Falkenburg Road and Palm River Road/Delaney Lake Drive
The county will pay for up to $6.25 million of the costs if work is completed in the next five years.
The actual development includes 373,350 square feet of retail space, 360 dwelling units, a 125-room hotel, 125,000 square feet of office space and 125,000 square feet of medical office space. Bass Pro is one of the identified anchors.
What do you think of the decision? Should taxpayer dollars be used to fund the road construction? Share your thoughts in the comments section.