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Gov. Rauner Extends River Edge Redevelopment Zone Program To 2018

State of Illinois

A program designed to help spur economic development in Rockford and other river cities in Illinois got a new lease on life this week. Tuesday, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner signed legislation extending the River Edge Redevelopment Zone Program until the beginning of 2018.

The program allows for an income tax credit to be awarded for the restoration and preservation of a qualified historic structure located in a River Edge Redevelopment Zone.  Zones are located in Rockford, Aurora, Elgin, Peoria and East St. Louis. Rockford Mayor Larry Morrissey says the program has been extremely important to Rockford and the other affected cities, and its extension is vital.

“For us, it’s literally meant tens of millions of dollars of private sector investment. Immediate construction jobs and ongoing jobs in the retail and commercial sector of our local development of our local communities. So, we want to keep that momentum going,” he says.

Morrissey says Rockford lost some projects because the prospective developers didn’t want to gamble on whether the program would still be there. He says the one-year-extension staves off, rather than solves, that problem, but it’s still important.

 “We would literally would have been dead in the water for a number of projects that are in the middle of construction but not completed, or projects that we’ve not even finalized the development agreements. The extension gives us the ability to move forward,” he says.

Still, he says he and other supporters of the program will go back to the legislature in the spring to try to pass a five-year extension.

The extension was signed into law by Gov. Rauner after passing the legislature easily. Morrissey says he hopes that spirit of cooperation will lead to further progress on this and other programs that affect the state’s residents.

Guy Stephens produces news stories for the station, and coordinates our online events calendar, PSAs and Arts Calendar announcements. In each of these ways, Guy helps keep our listening community informed about what's going on, whether on a national or local level. Guy's degrees are in music, and he spent a number of years as a classical host on WNIU. In fact, after nearly 20 years with Northern Public Radio, the best description of his job may be "other duties as required."