Hospital TIF could be first of many
BY BOB OKON firstname.lastname@example.org October 25, 2012 9:01PM
The city of Joliet is looking at ways to spur economic development around Provena Saint Joseph Medical Center and the Jefferson Street corridor. File photo | Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 27, 2012 11:03AM
JOLIET — A tax incentive district aimed at spurring business development in the area around Provena Saint Joseph Medical Center could be one of many Joliet considers in coming months.
The city now has two tax increment financing districts, which are areas where businesses are allowed to use property tax dollars to offset the costs of land development and construction. TIF districts sometimes are controversial because they put tax dollars in the hands of developers that otherwise would go to schools, park districts and other local governments.
The Joliet City Council Land Use Committee this week encouraged city staff to work on a third TIF district for the Provena Saint Joseph neighborhood with the idea of creating a medical business district.
It would likely take more than a year to put the TIF district in place and make the incentives available.
But the hospital TIF might be just the first district created for business areas that border Jefferson Street, said city planning director Kendall Jackson.
“Staff has been looking at creating a TIF district along the Jefferson Street corridor,” Jackson said. But Jefferson Street, one of the city’s busiest commercial thoroughfares, is so different from downtown to Interstate 55 that Jackson suggested creating TIF districts as needed along different sections of the street.
“We’d be looking at areas of opportunity to create TIF districts,” Jackson said.
City attorney Jeff Plyman then suggested that if the city hires a consultant to create one TIF district, the consultant should look at other major corridors to see if they would qualify for the tax incentive.
Plyman said South Chicago Street, Ruby Street and Jackson Street are a few corridors that might be considered for TIF districts.
Committee Chairman Don Fisher agreed that the city should consider more TIF districts but also noted that the city should take into consideration potential objections from local school districts.
“I’m sure the staff will work closely with the school districts to make sure there are not disagreements on what property should be included,” Fisher said.
The city could be hiring a consultant to help prepare the hospital-area TIF near the end of this year or sometime in early 2013, Jackson said. After that, he said, it could take up to a year to put the TIF district in place.
The two existing TIFs are downtown and along Cass Street.