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An evaluation of Churchill Downs’ tax increment financing district

Journal of Urban Regeneration & Renewal. January 1, 2022

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Tax increment financing districts (TIFs) have become important local government tools in the USA over the last several decades as ways to help bring public and/or private investment dollars into inner city areas and/or older neighbourhoods which are deemed to need revitalisation. Within the last ten years, the concept has become popular in Canada, and it has been used as a component piece of enterprise zone programmes in other nations.

This paper evaluates one of the first Kentucky USA TIFs started approximately 20 years ago with a pre-eminent Kentucky horse racing track, Churchill Downs, as the target for investment spending. Some of the desired spin-off effects of such investment are to help bring jobs, investment and general economic growth to an older and low-income neighbourhood which surrounds the track. This paper finds mixed results regarding these outcomes for the area surrounding Churchill Downs.