Enterprise Zone Board Reviews Development

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Published on August 15 2013 7:08 pm
Last Updated on August 15 2013 7:08 pm
Written by Greg Sapp

There's been plenty of development in the Effingham City-County Enterprise Zone over the past year, and officials are hopeful changes in state Enterprise Zone guidelines won't threaten future development.

Effingham City Economic Development Director Todd Hull reviewed the projects recently undertaken at the annual meeting of the Zone Board earlier this month.

The projects include:

--renovation of the Russ Braunecker Cadillac-Buick-GMC dealership on South Banker

--remodeling of the J&J Ventures home on South Raney

--establishment of the First National Bank of Dieterich corporate offices on North 3rd

--relocation and expansion of Versatech at its new home on Wernsing Avenue

--construction of the new home for Nuxoll's Food Center on South Banker

--lighting renovations at Sherwin Williams distribution center on Wabash Avenue

--renovation at the Illinois Education Association office on Greenview Drive

--improvements to Hoedebecke Flooring on South Banker

--renovation of the former Fedders Corporation location by Dial and Dial Properties

Those projects have generated $2,014,500 in development and has created 49 jobs.

Projects begun during the past quarter include:

--work to complete the strip mall in front of Kohl's by H&K Investments

--development of a second floor office area for John Boos and Company on South Route 45

--construction of an office and retail development for Hodgson Mill next to Buffalo Wild Wings off Charlotte Street and Avenue of Mid-America

The newest projects involve $1,117,200 in investment and will create 12 jobs.

Hull said a concern for the local Enterprise Zone is changes in state laws regulating zones.  The Effingham zone and almost 60 other zones in Illinois are being lumped together and will compete for life extension.  If the extensions are not received, the Effingham and other zones not making the cut will expire in 2016.  That's two years sooner than the zone was supposed to expire.

Hull said Effingham will have to fill out a questionnaire, as will other communities with zones, and the scores will be reviewed by a five-person committee including the directors of the Illinois Department of Revenue and Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity along with three persons appointed by the governor.  One of the governor's appointments is to come from the City of Chicago, one from the collar counties, and the third from the rest of Illinois.

Hull said it's a significant matter.  He said, "This will be big for us; Enterprise Zone is one of our two big tools (along with TIF Districts) to stay competitive with other states and with other communities in Illinois."

The application for seeking Enterprise Zone benefits has also changed.  Local developers will still contact Hull, but he'll forward the information to the State for any final approval.

Effingham City Plan Commission Chairman Greg Kemper was re-elected chairman of the Enterprise Zone Board and financial institutions representative Rick Chambers was chosen vice-chairman.  Other Enterprise Zone board members are Effingham County Board Chairman Jim Niemann, Unit 40 School Superintendent Mark Doan, Effingham Mayor Merv Gillenwater, Joe Forbes of Versatech representing a business within the Enterprise Zone and Bob Lakin of Walmart representing a business outside the Enterprise Zone.