Geneva's City Council has approved the purchase of a long-vacant house and property to the west of Geneva Firewood & Mulch on the city's East Side.
The purchase is one of several parcels the city is likely to acquire in an effort to improve the East State Street business corridor.
In late January, the City Council OK'd a plan to spend about a $1 million for engineering work to improve East State Street from the Fox River to Kirk Road. According to that plan, East State Street would be widened, sidewalks improved and a streetscape created that would enhance traffic and pedestrian flow, business ingress and egress and aesthetics.
The home at 617 E. State St. has been vacant for some time. It is within the East State Street Tax Increment Financing District created in 2000.
TIF districts are designed to strengthen the economic well-being of "blighted" areas. Basically, a TIF district freezes the property tax levels of funds that go to local taxing bodies—schools, parks, library, city, county, township and community college, for example—at the level they are when the TIF is created.
As the Equalized Assessed Value grows, the tax dollars collected above the "freeze" level go to the TIF District, and those monies that can be used for improvements that increase business activity, tax values and job creation.
The original EAV of the East Side district has doubled from $3.2 million to more than $6 million, Economic Development Director Ellen Divita wrote in a report to the City Council.
"TIF Funds can be used for building repair, rehabilitation, demolition; land assemblage; new development; and, widening and streetscape enhancements for State Street/IL Route 38," the report says.
It also hints that the city's purchase of the 617 E. State St. property would not be the only parcel the city looks at buying.
"As many land parcels are shallow and small, assemblage will be key for future redevelopment," Divita says.
"The City seeks additional necessity retail (general merchant/variety stores, auto parts, restaurants-fast food, family dining, tavern, shoes, automotive) to join these successful businesses," the report says.
The 617 E. State St. property belongs to the estate of Philip Vincent Chapman and has a sale price of $95,000, according to city documents included in Monday's City Council packet.