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Joliet nears start of Saint Joseph's-area TIF district

Property owners may receive tax benefits for redevelopment

JOLIET – The city of Joliet appears close to making the Presence Saint Joseph area tax incremental financing district official.

The TIF district would provide property tax incentives for renovations and construction to owners of property in the district. 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 area surrounding Saint Joseph experienced a jump in real estate vacancies with the economic recession six to nine years ago. These vacancies have gone unfilled and many meet the criteria of a blighted property.

Last week a joint review board – consisting of representatives of taxing bodies included in the TIF district – met and reviewed the public record of all steps in the process to create a TIF. They made a unanimous recommendation to Joliet City Council to adopt the TIF.

Joliet director of economic development Steve Jones said Monday that the city can adopt the TIF at a Jan. 17 meeting after a Jan. 3 public hearing. The TIF lasts for 23 years.

The TIF district is bordered by Glenwood Avenue at the north and Jefferson Street at the south. Its western border is the Joliet Junction Trail and spans east to encompass properties on both sides of Hammes Avenue.

Some properties within those roadway borders are not part of the TIF. Properties that aren’t included in the TIF didn’t meet criteria. Areas included in TIF districts must meet a legal definition of blight to justify the tax incentives.

The lot at the northwest corner of Jefferson Street and Springfield Avenue – the former home of Just Toni’s – is not part of the TIF. The site was redeveloped to be the home of a new Popeye’s fast-food restaurant.

Properties on each side of Hammes Avenue were added to the TIF after a push from property owners in the area that pointed out the vacancies extended to Hammes.

Property owners will be notified of the TIF developments, as well as those within 750 feet of the TIF district’s borders. Jones said he would like to plan a get-together with property owners within the TIF district at city hall to discuss their views, needs and priorities.

“They’re going to be the beneficiaries over time,” Jones said.

Jones said the city appreciates Saint Joseph’s as an economic engine.

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