Amita Health Saint Joseph Medical Center Joliet is heading an effort to spur redevelopment interest in the neighborhood surrounding the hospital.
The hospital is in the center of a tax increment financing district created by the city in January 2017. The TIF District encourages redevelopment by providing property tax breaks for approved building renovations or land development.
No one has used the TIF yet.
Amita Health Saint Joseph is organizing property owners and other stakeholders in a group effort to brainstorm over how the TIF can be used to make improvements in the neighborhood.
“We want to talk with people about what services or businesses should be brought in,” said Shannon Jermal, regional director of community health integration for Amita Health. “Do we need more restaurants? Do we need hotels? ... We really want to get the input of everyone in the area about what should be put into it.”
The TIF district runs roughly from Jefferson Street to Glenwood Avenue and between Hammes and Republic avenues.
The hospital hosted a forum in November for property owners in the TIF district to begin talking about potential redevelopment ideas. It also will host “community visioning” meetings tentatively scheduled for mid-April.
Jermal said “community visioning” is a process the health system has used at other hospitals to develop plans for improvements both at hospitals and in surrounding neighborhoods.
Amita Health plans to hire a consultant to help with planning for the TIF district.
City economic development specialist Derek Conly told the City Council’s Economic Development Committee this week that city staff now meets with hospital representatives regularly “to talk about redevelopment opportunities.”
Conley said the TIF fund now is $20,000, which is money that can be used for economic development efforts.
The TIF fund takes in money generated by any increase in property taxes because of higher assessments after the the district is established. Other property tax dollars continue to go to the local taxing bodies.
The TIF district also allows property owners to use the higher property taxes generated by renovations and development to offset the costs of those improvements.
Conley said no one has come to the city yet with a proposal for renovations or development to be covered by TIF reimbursements.