Urban Renewal Districts & Tax Increment Financing


Urban renewal districts (URDs) are established in communities to address blight conditions and promote redevelopment   within a defined area of the city. Tax Increment Financing (TIF), when adopted as part of an URD, allows the community to focus money to the redevelopment in the area. As part of the establishment of an URD and in order to utilize TIF funds, a city must adopt an Urban Renewal Plan (URP). The URP is designed to reflect a district’s priorities, desires, and its vision, while also detailing goals and objectives for achieving them.

Once a URD and TIF are created, a baseline for property valuations within the district is established. As improvements are made within the district over a defined period of time and property valuations rise, the incremental increases in tax revenues are leveraged for City Commission-approved improvement projects. A TIF Advisory Board is appointed  by the City Commission to develop recommendations on how best to utilize these funds.  Revenues generated may only be spent within the designated district, and can be used for projects that were identified in the Urban Renewal Plan. The City of Helena currently has  one active Urban Renewal District: the Railroad Urban Renewal District (RURD) which has a TIF provision. Currently, the City is working on the establishment of second URD for Downtown.  More information on each of these districts may found using the links provided below.

Railroad Urban Renewal District

Intent & Area

The City of Helena established the Railroad Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District in 2016, which roughly extends from North Last Chance Gulch east to Interstate I-15 and includes land for several blocks on either side of the railroad. The URD/TIF District's goals are to revitalize the area by improving economic vitality, creating jobs, and encouraging investment in targeted neighborhoods.


The City of Helena established a Railroad TIF Advisory Board in August 2017. The Board is comprised of 8 representatives of private businesses, property owners, and residents within the district, public associations and non-profits, the Helena School District, and Helena College. The Board is tasked with  completing annual work plans, reports, evaluations, and budgets and making recommendations for  allocation of TIF funding and any future amendments to the Railroad Urban Renewal District Plan.

For additional information, the following links are being provided:

·         Map of Boundary

·         Railroad Urban Renewal District Plan

·         Ordinance No. 3214 Creating the Railroad Urban Renewal District, Establishing Its Boundaries,
          and Adopting the Railroad Urban Renewal District Plan

·         Resolution 20374 Establishing the Railroad TIF Advisory Board

Contact Person

For additional information on the Railroad Urban Renewal District, please contact: Sharon Haugen, Community Development Director, City of Helena, 316 N. Park Avenue, Helena, MT 59623, phone: 406-447-8445, or email: shaugen(at)helenamt.gov.

Downtown Urban Renewal District

The City of Helena and Montana Business Assistance Connection have been awarded grant funding to establish an Urban Renewal District/Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District for Helena’s historic downtown district. This project follows on recommendations from the 2016 Helena Downtown Neighborhood Plan to assess redevelopment potential in the downtown and create such a district. The proposed boundary for the Downtown TIF District may generally follow boundary outlined in the neighborhood plan, which would cover a roughly one mile long, 200 acre area of the city, extending from Lyndale Avenue in the north to the intersection of Park and Cruse Avenues in the south, bordered by Benton Avenue to the west and Cruse Avenue to the east.

The City has selected WGM Group as the consultant to assess blight in the district and to draft an Urban Renewal Plan. The project is currently in its early stages, and more information on this proposed URD will be provided as the project progresses.  Information concerning any future efforts related to this project and any public meetings will be shared on this website. If you have any questions regarding this project  or would like to be placed on an email list for future  notification’s concerning this District  please contact Sharon Haugen, Community Development Director, City of Helena, 316 N. Park Avenue, Helena, MT 59623, phone: 406-447-8445, or email: shaugen(at)helenamt.gov.


To request an accommodation or alternate information format, please contact the Community Development Department/Planning Division at: Voice: 406-447-8490 | TTY: 1-800-253-4091|Relay: 711 Email: citycommunitydevelopment(at)helenamt.gov