It's taken about a year to go from the planning stage to the reality stage as the St. Clair Board of Aldermen agreed Monday night to allow Mayor Ron Blum to enter into an agreement for a firm to redevelop about 33 acres of property in the city.

By a unanimous 4-0 vote, the city approved Bill 2010-38, which then became Ordinance 1604. It allows Blum to enter into a Tax Increment Financing redevelopment agreement with Osage Fund LLC of St. Louis. Osage now can proceed with redeveloping 33 acres of property within the TIF redevelopment area near the intersection of Interstate 44 and Highway 47.

According to the ordinance language, the aldermen believe the redevelopment plan and the implementation of it is in the best interests of the city and "the health, safety, morals and welfare of its residents."

Last October, the TIF Committee voted to approve the redevelopment plan within the TIF district. The 33-acre parcel is adjacent to Frank Reed RV Center, 1991 N. Service Road.

Osage Fund LLC owns the land, and negotiations between city officials and Osage have continued for a year. The project is part of the I-44 East Redevelopment Area.

The original site plan shows three large retail buildings in the TIF district redevelopment plan, ample parking for those facilities and several "out lots" varying in size between about 1.25 and 1.75 acres. The "anchor" building on the plan is an 86,000-square-foot facility. Also included are a "specialty shop" structure measuring 42,000 square feet and 72,000 square feet of retail space in Building C.

City Administrator Jim Arndt said after the meeting, however, that the site plan can and will be tailored to what incoming businesses need.

"Once any leases are signed, Osage will build to specifications," Arndt said. "The makeup of the site could constantly be in flux. It all depends on who Osage gets to sign on the dotted line. It could end up being two large retailers instead of three. It just depends on who comes here.

"As far as the city, we'll just need to remain in the loop as to what's going on and how things are progressing."

One thing certain is a new road that will be built to the redevelopment site. That road is scheduled to be built in 2012, Arndt said, and will include traffic signals at the intersection of it and Highway 47 as well as land improvements. The new intersection will be in the vicinity of Angels Crossing Road north of Burger King.

"These site improvements will be done through a joint project between the city and the state," Arndt said.

The aldermen had no questions or comments about the pact between the mayor and Osage Fund LLC and wasted no time in approving the agreement.

Tax Increment Financing is a public financing method for municipalities used for redevelopment and community improvement projects. TIFs use future gains in taxes to finance current improvements which theoretically will create the conditions for those future gains.

In other business conducted by the aldermen during the meeting, they approved Bill 2010-39 which authorized the city clerk to amend the 2010 revenues and appropriations for the receipt and expense of $100,000 from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Des Moines, Iowa. This was the last disbursement of grant money to assist local homeowners with improvements.