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New economic development group hopes to spur business growth in Macomb

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MACOMB, Ill. (WGEM) -- Macomb officials said they've accomplished a lot with their Tax Increment Financing district over the last 35 years and they want to keep that success going by expanding the district to help more businesses.

Macomb Community Development Coordinator John Bannon said the TIF District is designed to give the community a long-term tool that will help spur more economic development and works by giving businesses tax breaks in an effort to encourage development.

Nelson's Clothing in downtown Macomb is in the city's Tax Increment Financing District.

Owner John Nelson said with help from the TIF District he was able to receive funds from the Downtown Renovation Grant and is now renovating the interior and exterior of his business.

"We had to replace our awnings, we wanted a sign for the first time. We were going to do the projects, most of it anyway, but because of the TIF district we were able to do the entire project," Nelson said.

Macomb Community Development Director John Bannon said the current TIF district expires in December and they're working to establish a new one to continue to see a growth in development.

"The nature of a TIF is that the increment will not be very much in the beginning, but if the property value in the downtown goes up significantly, it will give us more resources over the long-term to tackle whatever the next challenge is," Bannon said.

He said the downtown development office is partially funded by the TIF district which allows them to host community wide events.

"Even if people don't own a business on the square, having a nice downtown with thriving businesses to be able to go get a cup of coffee and enjoy a cultural event, is something that benefits every member of the community," Bannon said.

Nelson said hopefully there will be more incentives for new businesses and tax growth which could help in future projects.

"I remember when the original TIF was put in place and then when the renewal for that was done," Nelson said. "Now with it expiring that just means you have a tool that's lost to you."

Bannon said the city council voted Monday and approved of Jacob and Klein and The Economic Development Group as TIF consultants.

He said next they have to establish a redevelopment plan with their tax partners like the local school board, community colleges and the park district.

A new district can't be created until the existing one expires, but they hope to have it established by January.

Charity Bell

Multimedia Journalist at WGEM

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