Southwestern Illinois TIF Success Stories
Collinsville uses TIF to continue Uptown revitalization
By Alan J. Ortbals
Revitalization is in full force in Uptown Collinsville. The Uptown Structural Rehabilitation and Façade Grant Program continues to be popular with private business owners to provide a 40 percent rebate on permanent improvements to buildings. Twelve business owners utilized the program last year, according to Leah Joyce, Uptown Coordinator. Additionally, one business utilized the city’s 90 percent Life Safety Code Grant Program in order to install a sprinkler system required to expand its restaurant and bar, doubling it in size.
The city continues to utilize its TIF program to upgrade its infrastructure. The third phase of its award-winning Streetscape Program was complete in 2014. Phase IV along East Main St. and Phase V along Clay St. are funded and currently under design.
The city also used TIF funds to increase parking in the Uptown area by purchasing the former U.S. post office and demolishing it, making room for 50 cars.
Demolition of the unsightly Martha Manning Warehouse and Main Square Apartments at the west entryway to Uptown should begin in April. After the demolition, the City will create a new park in the Uptown area, to be named the Collins Park. The focal point of the park will be the historic D.D. Collins House, built by Judge Daniel Dove Collins (Madison County 2nd court, 1853-1857), who was the first president of the Collinsville Village Board. The home is undergoing a complete restoration and it will be moved approximately 200 feet west to the corner of Main and Combs. Plans are to furnish it to the period of 1840-1860.
The park will include green space and will utilize native plantings and sustainable attributes. When the Collins Park is complete, the home will serve Collinsville residents and youth, as well as regional tourists with informational displays, interpretive gardens with native plantings, and will be available for educational programs and school field trips. The land remaining after the creation of the park will be marketed to developers for new residential or mixed-use development.
None of this could have been accomplished without the use of tax increment financing, according to Joyce.
“TIF is the biggest reason for the revitalization of Uptown,” Joyce said. “Ten years ago we had vacant buildings and crumbling infrastructure and just a lot of buildings in disrepair. Through the creation of the Uptown Coordinator position; the planning and implementation of our Uptown Master Plan implementing design guidelines; using our zoning ordinance to have logical planning in place so that we have the highest and best uses in the area; and our TIF program where when we invest in ourselves and upgrade our infrastructure and do our streetscape programs, it’s made a remarkable turnaround. That kind of investment in time, money and resources spurs Uptown business owners and landlords to make improvements and attracts other who come in and invest.”