City ends Old Town TIF district

A special tax district in Old Town will be closed, and $1 million in unspent tax money will be sent to the Wichita school district, the city and the county, the Wichita City Council decided Tuesday.

The council voted unanimously to end the tax increment finance district in Old Town.

Tax increment finance districts channel property tax dollars generated by new improvements into accounts that pay for special projects such as streets, parks, lighting and public art.

All of the redevelopment projects financed by property tax money in the Old Town district have been paid off. About half of the balance in the TIF district account will go to the school district, with the county and city each getting a quarter.

The Old Town TIF district — bounded by Douglas, Second Street, Santa Fe and Washing-ton — was one of the city's first TIF districts, established in 1991.

Officials had talked about ending it since 2008. But Old Town business owners and City Council members had kept the district alive to fund extra projects.