EDWARDSVILLE — The Madison County Board on Wednesday approved an addition to the Gateway Commerce Center enterprise zone to pave the way for Prairie Farms Dairy to move its corporate headquarters from Carlinville to Edwardsville.
According to the enterprise zone ordinance, the company is planning to build a facility at Edwardsville Corporate Centre, a business park at the intersection of Illinois 143 and Staunton Road, just east of Interstate 55. The park houses the headquarters of Hortica Insurance & Employee Benefits and Scott Credit Union.
The enterprise zone allows the county to abate property taxes that can be attributed to improvements on the property. Other benefits include a sales tax exemption for building materials purchased in Illinois, a machinery and equipment tax exemption, a utility tax exemption, an investment tax credit and a job tax credit for hiring dislocated workers.
Two board members, Collinsville Republican Lisa Ciampoli and Granite City Democrat Helen Hawkins, voted against expanding the enterprise zone.
“I believe that takes away from services in the county,” Hawkins said.
Madison County Board Chairman Alan Dunstan said the Fortune 500 company’s move would bring jobs to the region.
“It’s a big thing to have this move to Edwardsville,” he said.
Prairie Farms Dairy Chief Executive Officer and Executive Vice President Ed Mullins said the move depends on whether the state authorizes the enterprise zone’s expansion. The two local governments in the zone, Edwardsville and Pontoon Beach, already have approved the expansion.
Mullins said he doesn’t know when the state will make the decision.
“It’s in the state’s hands,” he said. “We’re ready to go as soon as they approve.
“We will be consolidating five offices into one location, and we’re excited about the opportunity to get that accomplished,” he said.
If the move does happen, the Carlinville plant will stay open and continue to operate with no loss of jobs, Mullins said.
Approximately 41 employees would move to Edwardsville, inhabiting a 32,000-square-foot building.
The company is an Illinois agricultural cooperative owned by 650 farm families. In business since 1938, it has sales of $2.8 billion per year, employs a workforce of more than 5,700 and operates 36 processing plants in 17 Midwestern states. The company receives milk from producers and turns it into consumer products like ice cream and cheese.
Since the 5.89-square-mile enterprise zone’s inception in 1997, businesses within its boundaries have added 5,000 jobs and 9 to 10 million square feet in new buildings. It was created to spur the development of warehouses at Gateway Commerce Center in Edwardsville.
In other action, the board:
• Approved a resolution to provide $187,500 from the matching tax fund to patch and resurface East Broadway, Henry Street and Ridge Street in Alton. The work will be on East Broadway from 105 feet west of Henry Street to Monument Street and from 429 feet east of Belchik Memorial Expressway to Allen Street; Henry Street south 110 feet from East Broadway and Ridge Street south 210 feet from Broadway.
• Approved a resolution to provide $47,200 from the matching tax fund to construct a shared-use path along Magnolia Avenue, Quince Street and Linden Street in Edwardsville. The path will connect the Nickle Plate Trail with the Spray and Play Park set to open this summer at the corner of South Main Street and Schwarz Street near downtown Edwardsville.
• Approved an agreement to act as the disbursing agency for state funds to build a new road at Gateway Commerce Center. Developer Gateway Commerce Center Development Co. Inc. will pay $1,001,512 for the $2,003,024 project, while the Illinois Department of Transportation is funding the rest.
Hawkins was the lone vote against the agreement.