JOLIET – The city will consider expanding a proposed tax incentive district for the neighborhood surrounding Presence Saint Joseph Medical Center.
The district is being created to encourage land redevelopment that would improve the area and add new medical facilities around the hospital.
Dr. Theodore Kanellakes, who has a building east of the hospital, suggested to the Joliet City Council that the tax increment financing district be expanded in that direction.
Kanellakes said the TIF district should at least stretch as far east as Hammes Avenue, where his building is located, and maybe as far as Larkin Avenue.
“There are a lot of vacant office buildings, and there is a lot of property for sale,” Kanellakes told the council Tuesday before it approved the TIF proposal.
The City Council approval was an early step in a process that could take up to a year to set up a TIF district, which would provide property tax incentives for renovations and construction. TIF districts use increased property tax revenue, which is generated as assessments go up on land that is improved, to offset private development costs.
The proposed TIF district now goes west of the hospital to the Joliet Junction Trail, taking in property along Springfield and Republic avenues. It goes south of the hospital to include a section of Jefferson Street.
Areas included in TIF districts must meet a legal definition of blight to justify the tax incentives.
City Manager Jim Hock said he will have SB Friedman, the consultant being used for the TIF project, examine the area east of the hospital to see if it qualifies.
The council Tuesday approved a $29,720 contract with SB Friedman to study the feasibility of the current proposed TIF from Republic Avenue to Joliet Junction Trail.
The firm previously did a study that showed the area between Springfield and Republic avenues, as well as two blocks along Jefferson Street, qualified for TIF incentives. That study was completed in late 2014 but never acted upon.
It will take nine months to a year to complete the requirements needed to set up the TIF, Hock said.
Councilman Larry Hug said creation of the TIF “is a wise decision. We do need to encourage development around St. Joe’s.”