EDWARDSVILLE – Three ordinances addressing the renewal of two enterprise zones and the creation of a third were approved by the Madison County Board at Wednesday’s meeting.
The enterprise zones county officials are attempting to extend are the Southwestern and Riverbend Enterprise Zones. The Southwestern Enterprise Zone is a 13.6-square-mile area that includes Granite City, Madison and Venice, and was established in 1985.
The Riverbend Enterprise Zone is located in parts of seven county municipalities, including Alton, Bethalto, East Alton, Hartford, Roxana, South Roxana and Wood River. The enterprise zone was established in 1986 and covers 13.8 square miles.
The new enterprise zone county officials are hoping to establish is the Discovery Enterprize Zone, a 13.8-square-mile area which will encompass parts of Highland, Troy, St. Jacob, Maryville, Glen Carbon and Collinsville.
The latter was detailed in a story this summer in the Illinois Business Journal.
Madison County Chairman Alan J. Dunstan said the Southwestern and Riverbend Enterprize Zones have had a positive impact on the county.
“The enterprise zone designations for two key areas of Madison County have enabled us to attract new development which, in turn, has created thousands of construction jobs and hundreds of permanent jobs.”
He added: “Importantly, the enterprise zones have also enabled Madison County to retain existing companies and, again, jobs. One of the best examples of how an enterprise zone helped us with an existing company is the recently completed, multi-billion-dollar expansion at the Wood River Refinery.” The Wood River Refinery was previously named the Conoco-Phillips Refinery.
Frank Miles, administrator of Madison County Community Development, which coordinates and implements the county’s economic development programs, said the new Discovery Enterprise Zone provides the included municipalities with the tools and incentives to compete with other areas of the Midwest.
“Without Enterprise Zone status, the six municipalities affected by the enterprise zone would be at a disadvantage when trying to attract new development to their communitites,” Miles said. “Being included in an enterprise zone will enable the leaders of Highland, Troy, St. Jacob, Maryville, Glen Carbon and Collinsville to take advantage of a powerful economic development tool that encourages job creation and private investment.”
Municipalities in enterprise zones have the ability to offer increntives that include sales tax exemptions on building materials, machinery and equipment, utility and telecommunication excise tax exemptions, investment tax credits, and four-year property tax abatement on improvements not located with a Tax Increment Financing district.
The applications for the three Madison County enterprise zones will now be submitted to the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity before being reviewed by a five-person panel comprised of representatives of various state agencies. If approved, the enterprise zones will be in place for 15 years, and could be extended for an additional 10 years.