The Fort Harrison Reuse Authority (FHRA) is a quasi-governmental agency established by law to reuse – by redeveloping – the former Fort Benjamin Harrison Army Base, which was closed by the federal government in 1995. Because of strict federal legal requirements on reusing an installation, a reuse authority is given certain advantages to fulfill its mission of determining and implementing the proper use of the land to best serve the interests of the Citizens of Lawrence.
One advantage given to the Fort Harrison Reuse Authority was the creation of a TIF (tax increment financing) District. The FHRA TIF encompasses 2,501 acres which served as the Base area. Strict rules apply to the use of TIF revenue bonds. They can only be used to pay for infrastructure or economic development projects that enhance the quality of the economy and life at the Fort, and therefore for the City of Lawrence.
Three revenue bonds have been issued to date. In 2000, the FHRA paid for the construction of the bridge on 56th Street which opened up the Fort to economic development by connecting it to Pendleton Pike, a major highway through Lawrence. In 2006, the construction of the PX & Commissary kept this valuable amenity in the City, making it a destination for over 35,000 military families from across the state to the Fort for its products and services. The FHRA's involvement in this project led to the cancellation of its debt on the original land conveyance and allowed the government to deed nearly 10 acres of valuable property on which sat the original PX & Commissary. The FHRA constructed key infrastructure throughout Lawrence Village at the Fort in 2009 making it site ready for development -- something that had to be done before anyone would buy any property.
Future TIF revenue can be used to assist developers with loans enabling them to get project financing and it can be used to help off-set costs associated with infrastructure in the development of a building, i.e. parking lots, sidewalks, utilities.