Grundy County to Vote on Joining with Livingston County on a New Enterprise Zone

Published: Saturday, Dec. 5, 2015 11:01 p.m. CST

MORRIS – The Grundy County Board is expected to vote Tuesday on the Livingston County Enterprise Zone, which also would include portions of Grundy County in the Dwight area and at the Interstate 55 and Route 47 interchange.

Adam Dontz with the Livingston County Economic Development Council said the proposed new enterprise zone covers land in Dwight, Odell, Pontiac, Fairbury, Forrest, Chatsworth and Flanagan, as well as rural areas.

“We are looking to bring in logistics warehouse distribution centers and manufacturing,” he said Friday.

The Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity announced in November it will move forward with the certification of 49 enterprise zones the Illinois Enterprise Zone Board approved in August.

The enterprise zone program was created in 1982 to stimulate economic growth and revitalization in depressed areas of the state, according to the website of the IDCEO.

The zones guarantee sales tax abatements, and local taxing districts are free to negotiate further tax incentives within the stimulus areas.

With a change in state law, all of Illinois’ 97 enterprise zones had to be replaced instead of being renewed or extended.

The state DCEO only accepted up to 49 new zones in its first round of applications that were submitted in 2014, according to its website, which means almost half of the existing zones won’t be created in the initial round. The statute keeps the number of enterprise zones at 97, but will award them during a five-year span.

Livingston County did not apply during the first round of applications but will submit an application this month for next year’s zone approval consideration.

Dontz said the Dwight area, which includes portions of Grundy County, makes sense because of the interstate, state highways and two class one railways that go through the community.

Grundy County Administrator Doug Pryor said having a new enterprise zone in the southern portion of the county would be a great opportunity to bring in new businesses and add to the county’s jobs and tax base.

“It’s another tool in the toolbox that gives us competitive incentives from the state to bring business into the county,” he said.

Dontz said it’s also an excellent opportunity to have multi jurisdictional coverage that allows the neighboring counties to work together.