State Help Sought for Riverfront Development

By on December 1, 2017

From Daily Journal:  Legislation to help kick-start Kankakee’s riverfront development plan is being pushed in Springfield, but a timeline as to its implementation is murky at best.

State Rep. Lindsay Parkhurst, R-Kankakee, has reintroduced legislation that would add Kankakee into the River Edge Redevelopment Zoning Act. The legislation allows development incentives to certain riverfront municipalities.

Parkhurst would like Kankakee included in the short list of towns which can access these development tools.

Parkhurst introduced this same legislation late in the previous session, but with other issues — chiefly the budget impasse — the matter never moved. Parkhurst is hoping for a better outcome for inclusion in the redevelopment zoning act this time.

Basically, the act allows communities to state incentive programs, such as tax credits, property tax abatement, building material sales tax abatement and income tax abatement, to name a few, as a way to get development started along a waterway.

Currently, only Aurora, East St. Louis, Elgin, Peoria and Rockford are authorized to participate in the River Edge Act, which was created in 2006.

“I really feel like Kankakee is a flower ready to bloom again,” Parkhurst said. “We just need a little bit more water and sunshine.”

Those two natural resources can come in the form of incentives.

House Bill 4172, introduced by Parkhurst on Nov. 21, has not yet been assigned to a House committee. The assignment would come from House Speaker Mike Madigan. The measure was assigned to the Revenue & Finance Committee last year, but it was never brought up.

“The river is vital to our city and our community should be able to participate in this successful growth initiative,” Parkhurst said. “I don’t see any legislators opposing this. This is not controversial.”

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