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By DAVE HINTON
Rantoul Press editor
Provisions for a tax increment financing district for the mammoth Easton-Bell Sports property being developed west of Rantoul were outlined for the Rantoul Village Board at a public hearing last Tuesday.
Jewell Walton of S.B. Friedman Development Advisers, Chicago, discussed the project at the board’s study session.
Site preparation is ongoing for the 815,000-square-foot distribution, assembly and shared services center just west of Interstate 57.
The approximately 300 employees in Bell-Sports’ plant on east U.S. 136 and in hangar 1 on the former Chanute Air Force Base will begin working at the new facility once completed.
The village hired S.B. Friedman in July to determine if the area in west Rantoul is eligible to become a TIF district. Walton said the project area, which encompasses three development parcels and 167 acres, would qualify as a TIF district because it is a blighted area due to drainage problems.
An engineering study found that the land has “considerable flooding, including the south railroad depression in lot 2” and near Interstate 57 in lot 1, Walton said.
“It does prohibit redevelopment because of where it’s located,” Walton said, adding that plans call for “new stormwater management facilities to help alleviate flooding conditions.”
The primary goal of the project is to “facilitate capital improvements, the redevelopment of parcels and site preparation and implement stormwater management facilities and make allowances for other infrastructure improvements,” Walton said.
She said the estimated budget ceiling for money that can be spent within the district is $21.8 million.
Of that amount, $9 million will come in the form of the property assembly, $8 million in public works improvements, $2 million for studies and professional services and $1 million for interest costs.
Ken Beth, Rantoul village attorney, said under state statute, the village board will be required to adopt three ordinances to implement the TIF district. One approves the plan that Walton outlined, another locks in the redevelopment project area, and the third locks in the tax increment financing for that area.
The ordinances will be placed on the agenda for the December village board meeting.
No members of the public or taxing bodies affected by the proposed TIF district spoke at the public hearing.
Meeting held in October
A meeting of the Joint Review Board composed of the local taxing districts that might be affected by the TIF district was held in October. Beth said only the Rantoul City Schools district was represented, and there have been no objections to adoption of the TIF district.
Under the program, an increase in the site value will generate an increase in tax revenues, which will then go into a fund that will go to the company.
Taxing districts in the area where the Easton-Bell plant will be developed will not receive any additional tax money over and above what they currently receive until the term of the TIF district expires.
The state of Illinois’ targeted investment package, which is estimated at $3.4 million, for the plant project includes Economic Development for a Growing Economy tax credits, which are based on jobs and distributed over 10 years, and a training grant through the Employer Training Investment Program.