SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – State Reps. Linda Chapa LaVia, D-Aurora, and Stephanie Kifowit, D-Oswego, are sponsoring legislation that would extend the Historic Preservation Income Tax Credit for River Edge Redevelopment Zones and allow for the development of several projects throughout Aurora.
“We have the opportunity to redevelop structures in Aurora that are currently vacant, which will provide residents with more jobs and ultimately put more money back into the local economy,” said Chapa LaVia. “The state has the opportunity to help these projects get off the ground, and I will continue to work with other community leaders and interested parties to redevelop Aurora.”
The Historic Preservation Income Tax Credit for River Edge Redevelopment Zones was created in 2011 to provide projects with a 25 percent tax credit for the redevelopment of historic structures in River Edge Redevelopment Zones. Despite having a significant economic impact on the zones, which includes Aurora and four other communities throughout Illinois, the credit expires at the end of 2017.
“Having helped developers, property owners and elected officials revitalize vacant and underutilized properties for almost 20 years, I have seen that a state historic tax credit, paired with the federal version, is an imperative tool,” said Bonnie McDonald, President and CEO of Landmarks Illinois. “It ensures we are regionally competitive and the jobs created are local; they cannot be outsourced. Plus, because preservation is more labor-intensive than material-intensive, it puts more people back to work in Illinois.”
Chapa LaVia and Kifowit have been working with local leaders and other state officials to extend the credit. If extended, the credit would assist with the redevelopment of St. Charles Hospital to be turned into senior housing. Other proposals include transforming the Hotel Arthur and the Stanley Furniture buildings into a mix of residential and commercial properties. Chapa LaVia and Kifowit recently had a subject matter hearing on the importance of extending the credit in the House Revenue and Finance Committee, where local officials and other organizations provided testimony.
“My three priorities as the new mayor of the state’s second-largest city are controlling crime, improving education and fostering economic development,” Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin said. “By extending the River Edge Historic Tax Credit, we will improve the integrity and quality of our downtown and help Aurora in all of these priority areas.”
“We have seen the positive results of The River Edge Redevelopment Zone Historic Tax Credit Program. It has already helped create jobs and save historical buildings across Illinois,” Kifowit said. “To continue existing projects and to help the newly elected Mayor continue to move Aurora forward, it is important to extend this tax credit. This program will give Aurora and other communities the opportunity to create thousands of more jobs and breathe new life into historical structures.”
Chapa LaVia is the chief House Sponsor of House Bill 2972, which is still in the House. Its companion bill, Senate Bill 1783, is also in the House. Both await further consideration.