Morgan County Enterprise Zone Renewed, Portions of Scott County Added

By Benjamin Cox on September 3, 2019 at 1:30pm

Enterprise Zone locations highlighted in yellow in Jacksonville. There are also enterprise zones located in other portions of the county. Scott County will also be added to the program.

Jacksonville may be receiving new business opportunities soon. The Illinois Enterprise Zone Board approved the application for the Jacksonville Regional Enterprise Zone on August 27th . Morgan County Regional Planner Dusty Douglas says it is a huge relief to the development community of the region. “Essentially, it continues and expiring application that we’ve had after 13 years, and now we have it 10 more years. It allows us to provide sales tax exemptions on building materials and gives the county the ability to abate real estate. Frankly, it’s one of the last economic development tools that we really have in JREDC’s quiver. We were really scared we were going to lose it so, it comes as a relief and we’re thrilled to get it.”

The local enterprise zone will be administered by the Jacksonville Regional Economic Development Corporation along with leaders from Scott County beginning on January 1st.

Douglas says that new businesses coming to the area will reap the benefits of the renewed zone agreement. “The primary focus of it is if you want to build a building, you’re not paying sales tax on the building materials. We have abated property taxes in the past for the first year for 100%. The second year it goes to 80%, then to 60%, and so on. It allows us to offer a bit of an inducement to get folks here. This is only going to be on new developments. It’s not going to be a case of retrofitting existing buildings.”

Douglas says it has reaped benefits in the past for Morgan County. “Pretty much every business that comes here asks about it. When you look particularly around Eastgate and what we are trying to do with the new industrial park, everything out there is Enterprise Zone-related. Everyone asks about the benefits. Pretty much any entity that comes to town has already looked at this. Another kind of exciting twist on it now is we have an opportunity zone that we can couple with part of our enterprise zone that gives us a couple of different tools to market in favor of the community, which really helps.”

Douglas says the new East Morton Avenue development project as well as the AC-Humko property and Reynolds all fall under the umbrella of the enterprise zone. Douglas hopes that the vacant Humko property as well as the new developments at the eastern portion of Jacksonville will see renewed interest from potential businesses.