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updated: 3/11/2016 1:59 PM

Geneva could offer incentives to spur development near Fox River

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  • Geneva Aldermen Monday will discuss a tax increment financing plan that could offer incentives to redevelop properties such as the Mill Race Inn along the Fox River.

    Geneva Aldermen Monday will discuss a tax increment financing plan that could offer incentives to redevelop properties such as the Mill Race Inn along the Fox River.
    John Starks | Staff Photographer, September 2015

 
 

Geneva is looking to create a new tax increment financing district to fund up to $30 million in costs to spur development near the Fox River.

Aldermen will discuss moving the proposal along at a committee of the whole meeting at 7 p.m. Monday.

The 98-acre area would be called the "Geneva Fox River Redevelopment Project Area." If enacted, it would be the city's third TIF district.

The city began working on the proposal in 2014.

In a TIF district, property tax payments to government bodies, such as the city, school and park districts, are frozen at the current level for 23 years. Any increases in property taxes due to increases in the properties' value are instead put into a special fund managed by the city. The money in that fund could be used to pay for work that led to the improvement in property values. This could include paying for items such as street and utility improvements, incentives to real estate developers or for repair of sites.

Generally, the area includes sites that front the river, from Woodward Avenue to the Union Pacific railroad tracks; parcels on State Street, from the river to School Street; and sites on the west bank of the river between State and Stevens streets, west to First Street, excluding the condominiums at River and Hamilton Street.

A study by city-hired consultants determined it qualifies as a "conservation area" under state law, in part because about 75 percent of the taxable buildings in it are 35 years or older. There are other qualifying factors present also, according to the consultant's report: a lack of growth, deterioration, excessive vacancies and inadequate utilities. Nearly 27 percent of the available space in current buildings is unoccupied, according to the report, with 11 buildings vacant.

Those vacancies include the former Mill Race Inn restaurant, at State and Route 25, and the Geneva Bottling Works on North River Lane.

The Mill Race Inn closed in 2011. Shodeen Inc. bought the site in 2014 but has not announced any plans.

Geneva Bottling Works closed in 2007.

The equalized assessed valuation of the properties in the proposed district declined faster than properties citywide from 2009 to 2014, according to the report.

A joint review board, composed of representatives from all the taxing bodies that would be affected, will meet at 2 p.m. April 7.

A public hearing on the eligibility study and the redevelopment plan is tentatively scheduled for 7 p.m. May 2.