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Gov. Rauner signs SB 1783, extending tax credit program to preserve historic buildings

Gov. Bruce Rauner signed Senate Bill 1783, bipartisan legislation which extends the River Edge Redevelopment Zone tax credit program. The tax credit program has helped preserve historic buildings and grow local economies in the five communities where the credit is applicable: Peoria, Rockford, Elgin, Aurora and East St. Louis.

“This program has already been a huge success,” Gov. Rauner said. “The River Edge Redevelopment Zone Program helps stimulate both the state’s economy and the local economies where the program is available. It’s an important tool for municipalities to utilize to spur economic development while saving and restoring historic buildings, and it’s the right move to extend this program through Dec. 31, 2021, so these communities can continue to grow and prosper.”

The redevelopment program is credited with creating a $10 return for every $1 of credit, and a series of success stories have materialized as a result of the program. For example, the St. Charles Senior Living Center--a rehabilitated, 60-unit independent living facility in downtown Aurora--was a beneficiary of the tax credit and subsequently received the 2017 Landmarks Illinois Award for Rehabilitation. In Peoria, an old barrel-making facility was transformed into luxury apartments that still reflect the historic building’s original charm. And in Rockford, the program supported the very successful Prairie Street Brewhouse.

“On behalf of the residents of Aurora, I thank our state legislators and the governor for their support of this integral bill that will potentially create hundreds of jobs and tens of millions of dollars in economic development in the state's second-largest city," said Aurora Mayor Richard C. Irvin. “The quality of Aurora's 180-year-old downtown is integral to the success of the entire city.” 

“The River Edge Redevelopment Zone initiative has been a critical tool for economic growth in downtown Rockford and provides a strong return on investment,” said Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara. “The incentive has helped us fill vacant properties and attract new capital investment to city, while at the same time preserving culturally and architecturally significant buildings.”         

Specifically, SB 1783 Extends the River Edge Redevelopment Zone tax credit until Dec. 31, 2021. 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, which is a specific area designated by the State of Illinois in cooperation with a local government to safely revive and redevelop environmentally-challenged properties that will stimulate economic revitalization and create jobs in Illinois.


The bill was sponsored by a bipartisan group of legislators.

“For years, I have been a strong advocate for historic preservation--not only so that we can keep our history alive, but also because of the economic impact these sites have on our communities here in Illinois,” said State Sen. Pamela Althoff (R-McHenry). “By preserving local history, we are also supporting and promoting economic development.”

“The River Edge Redevelopment Zone Program has allowed for the continued restoration of historic riverfront properties in my district, including the Elgin Tower Building in downtown Elgin,” said State Sen. Karen McConnaughay (R-St. Charles). “This type of development promotes economic growth and leads to more private investment and permanent jobs in our communities.”

These tax credits support the types of projects that offer the taxpayers of this state the chance to get a huge return on their investment in terms of tax revenue and economic activity,” said State Sen. Dave Syverson (R-Rockford), who co-sponsored the legislation. “We have seen first-hand how River Edge tax credits have had a major effect on Rockford's downtown development, and I am thrilled that the program will be extended.”

“The River Edge tax credit has been an important tool in the revitalization of downtown Rockford,” State Sen. Steve Stadelman (D-Rockford). “It turns vacant, rundown buildings into marketable properties, creates jobs and grows the economy. Developers will be happy to know this incentive will be available through 2021.”

"This tax credit is an example of what happens when lawmakers put aside their differences to do what is best for their communities and the entire state. In this era of hyper-partisan tension, it is reassuring to see overwhelming bipartisan support for a measure that spurs economic growth in places like Peoria's Warehouse District,” said State Sen. Dave Koehler (D-Peoria).

“River Edge economic incentives are a proven bipartisan economic tool that invests in our communities to create millions of new good-paying jobs,” State Sen. Cristina Castro (D-Elgin) said. “This job-creating program not only energizes our region but also preserves our local history. The extension of this important program will help us continue to see the benefits of the investments we have made in Elgin’s riverfront and downtown revitalization.

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