Four enterprise zones in Madison County were included in a bill approved by the Illinois legislature that extended the life of the state’s enterprise zones for 25 years and created a number of new zones.
Madison County Chairman Alan J. Dunstan said the enterprise zones are an essential element to economic development.
“The enterprise zone program in Madison County has been particularly successful, providing the county and local units of government with the tools and incentives necessary to stimulate new business development and create jobs for our residents,” Dunstan said.
The newest enterprise zone in Madison County is the Discovery zone, which includes portions of Collinsville, Glen Carbon, Maryville, Troy, Highland and St. Jacob. The three renewed enterprise zones in the county include the Riverbend, Southwestern Madison County and Gateway Commerce zones. Madison County Community Development administers the zones.
“Without the benefits offered as part of an enterprise zone, we would not have seen the development of Madison County as the Midwest’s premier intermodal distribution center or numerous other developments that have created jobs and economically benefitted the county in many ways, such as the multi-billion dollar expansion at the Phillips 66 refinery,” Dunstan said. “Importantly, the enterprise zones also help us retain businesses.”
According to the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, statewide enterprise zones resulted in more than $2 billion in capital investments during the 2014 fiscal year. Those investments created more than 9,000 jobs and resulted in the retention of more than 14,000 jobs.
“There is no revenue coming into Madison County if new businesses do not move into our area or existing businesses choose not to expand or relocate to another area,” Dunstan said. “I am particularly happy with the approval of the Discovery enterprise zone, which I expect to significantly benefit a number of municipalities and their residents.”
The Gateway Commerce Enterprise Zone includes portions of unincorporated Madison County and the municipalities of Edwardsville and Pontoon Beach. The zone was designated as an Illinois enterprise zone area on Sept. 8, 1997. The Riverbend zone includes Alton, Bethalto, East Alton, Hartford, Roxana, South Roxana and Wood River, as well as parts of unincorporated Madison County, and was designated Jan. 1. The Southwestern Madison County Enterprise Zone includes portions of unincorporated Madison County and the cities of Granite City, Madison and Venice. It was designated on Jan. 1.
Dunstan said the staff of the Madison County Community Development staff members are already arranging meetings with representatives of municipalities in the Discovery zone to familiarize them with its benefits. The chairman also said meetings will be held in all areas affected by the zones in the coming weeks.