DENHAM SPRINGS — The Denham Springs City Council voted Monday to annex land south of Bass Pro Boulevard in an effort to create a larger economic development district for the Riverside Landing project surrounding Bass Pro Shop.
The council voted 4-0, with member Annie Fugler absent.
The council annexed about 18 acres between Bass Pro Boulevard and Vincent Road, not far from Range Avenue just off Interstate 12.
Mayor Jimmy Durbin said city officials will look into annexing other land near the 18 acres to create what would eventually become a 33-acre economic development district encompassing Riverside Landing. He said the city will soon introduce an ordinance to create that district.
Forming the district would pave the way for a possible tax-increment-financing plan for portions of Riverside Landing, though Durbin has said that is only a possibility at this point.
“The south end of Denham Springs is becoming a very big engine for retail for the city of Denham Springs, and the parish and the School Board,” Durbin said. “All of the public bodies will be reaping great benefit from this development.”
Landowners in the area submitted a petition Sept. 23 to have the council annex the 18 acres. Some of those landowners, including Joe Sanders, attended Monday’s meeting.
City officials thanked the Sanders family for agreeing to let the city annex the property.
“I think it’s beneficial for everyone,” Councilman John Wascom said.
Sanders said after the meeting that letting the city annex the land allows the city to provide fire and police protection on the property, making it more marketable.
“Once that came up, it wasn’t really a hard decision,” Sanders said.
Riverside Landing is an economic development project surrounding the Bass Pro Shop in Denham Springs, which Bass Pro developer Jacob Fa-Kouri said he envisioned when constructing the gigantic outdoor sports store.
Fa-Kouri has said he would seek a TIF for parts of Riverside Landing to finance infrastructure and drainage work in the area.
Tax increment financing redirects sales tax revenue collected within a district to development projects, such as Bass Pro and the in-the-works Juban Crossing development off Interstate 12 at Juban Road.
Fa-Kouri has said the new TIF would be limited to sales tax revenue collected within the economic development district.
Creating the district and paving the way for Riverside Landing would generate more sales tax revenue for the city, Durbin has said.
Plans for Riverside Landing include women’s clothing and accessories stores, and homemaking stores.
Crews have broken ground on a Cavender’s western clothing store just off Bass Pro Boulevard.
The next phase of Riverside Landing will begin construction once 60 percent of the retailers sign up to join the project, which could be by the end of the year, Fa-Kouri has said.
Bass Pro opened in 2008 with the help of a TIF. That TIF diverted to the development a portion of sales tax revenue that otherwise would have gone to the Denham Springs City Council, Livingston Parish Council, parish School Board, Sheriff’s Office and Livingston Gravity Drainage District 1.