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August , 2018
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Four clusters of communities in Southern Cook County to be designated as “Illinois Enterprise Zones”


First BUILT in Cook loan approved for the Cullerton Avenue Industrial Area in the Village of Franklin Park

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle introduced a series of ordinances designed to generate economic development in local communities by designating them as Illinois Enterprise Zones at the November meeting of the Cook County Board of Commissioners held on Wednesday. The Board of Commissioners also approved awarding the first loan under the BUILT (Broadening Urban Investment to Leverage Transportation) in Cook program to the Village of Franklin Park for infrastructure improvements to the Cullerton Avenue Industrial Area.

Four Illinois Enterprise Zones

The Cook County Bureau of Economic Development is leading a collaborative effort with the South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association (SSMMA) and Will County to designate four locations in Southern Cook County as Illinois Enterprise Zones, including two areas that straddle Cook and Will Counties. Illinois Enterprise Zones are eligible for substantial tax incentives to generate private sector investments and business growth, including include sales tax exemptions on the purchase of property and building materials, utility tax emptions, and an investment tax credit for taxpayers who invest in machinery, equipment or buildings in the enterprise zone.

“Economic development will be a key focus of my administration as we move into our second term. Enterprise Zones are a valuable tool that allows state and local governments to work with businesses to create jobs and generate economic development,” Preckwinkle said.

The four Enterprise Zone locations are:

·  Cal Sag Enterprise Zone: The Village of Alsip, The City of Blue Island, The Village of Calumet Park, The City of Country Club Hills, The Village of Dixmoor, The Village of East Hazel Crest, The City of Harvey, The Village of Hazel Crest ,The Village of Homewood, , the City of Markham, The Village of Merrionette Park, The Village of Midlothian, The City Oak Forest, The Village of Phoenix, The Village of Robbins, the Village of Worth, and The County of Cook.

·   Calumet Enterprise Zone: The City of Calumet City, The Village of Lansing, The Village of Riverdale, The Village of South Holland, The Village of Thornton, and The County of Cook;.

·   Lincoln-394 Corridor Enterprise Zone: The Village of Beecher, The City of Chicago Heights, The Village of Crete, The Village of Ford Heights, The Village of Glenwood, The Village of Olympia Fields, The Village of Sauk Village, The Village of South Chicago Heights, The Village of Steger, The County of Cook, and the County of Will.

·  Will-Cook Enterprise Zone: The Village of Matteson, The Village of Monee, The Village of Park Forest, The Village of Richton Park, The Village of University Park, The County of Cook, and The County of Will.

“Many state benefits occur as the result of being a designated Illinois Enterprise Zone. For example there is a  sales tax exemption on purchases of building materials, and a utility tax exemption for businesses that invest more than $5 million in property and create more than 200 jobs, just to point out two examples,” stated Ed Paesel, Executive Director, South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association (SSMMA).

“The initiative to establish four new enterprise zones in Will and Cook counties is an example of my ongoing commitment to regional collaboration and economic development,” said Will County Executive Larry Walsh. “For the Eastern Will County communities involved, an enterprise zone designation will be another tool to attract new investment, stabilize the local tax base, and create jobs closer to home for Will County residents.”

All applications are submitted to the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, Enterprise Zone Program in Springfield, Illinois.  They will be reviewed by the Enterprise Zone Board in early 2015.

Cullerton Avenue Industrial Area in Franklin Park

The Board of Commissioners also approved issuing the first BUILT (Broadening Urban Investment to Leverage Transportation) in Cook loan to the Village of Franklin Park to fund improvements to the Cullerton Avenue Industrial Area. BUILT in Cook is a HUD Section 108 Loan Guarantee program that allows the County to borrow money from private investors at reduced interest rates to promote economic development, stimulate job growth and improve public facilities.

The Cullerton Avenue Industrial Area contains more than 2,300,000 square feet of industrial space, and is home to ten companies employing more than 1,300 employees. The loan of up to $4 million will be used to fund public infrastructure improvements, including street reconstruction and sewer and drainage work. Pending Board approval, the project is scheduled to begin in early 2015.

“The Cullerton Avenue Industrial Area in Franklin Park was chosen for a BUILT in Cook loan because of the strong partnership between the resident businesses and local government.  The infrastructure improvements made through the loan will create 133 new jobs and will also increase property values,” Preckwinkle said.

“Revitalizing the Cullerton Avenue Industrial Area in Franklin Park allows us to rebuild much needed infrastructure,” stated Commissioner Tobolski.  “Improved infrastructure is vital to the business community and their work to create jobs.”

“Funding provided by Cook County through their ‘BUILT in Cook’ program allows us to move forward with improvements  to failed industrial infrastructure,”  Franklin Park Mayor Barrett Pedersen said. “Without the County’s support, this project would not have been financially feasible.  This loan will help us maintain a strong economic employment base for the Village of Franklin Park and Cook County.”

All ordinances were referred to committee and will be voted on at the December Board Meeting.

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