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Mt. Zion Convention Center Economic Driver for Mt. Zion TIF District




Contact: Julie Miller (217) 864-5424


Mt. Zion, IL – Since its inception and construction in 2011, the Mt. Zion Convention Center and Village Hall has attracted many new neighbors both commercial and residential.  The idea for the development came from a consultant hired to look at Mt. Zion’s TIF District (Tax Increment Financing).  Local officials looking to bring more families and business to the community starting looking for a developer to help facilitate the plan.  Steve Lewis, SA Lewis Construction, also saw the potential for the community. “I’ve lived in Mt. Zion most of my life, I felt the time was right for both myself and Mt. Zion to take the next step as a community” Lewis said.

Village Administrator, Julie Miller, shared “I’ve lived in the community my entire life and worked at the Village of Mt. Zion for over 25 years. I’ve seen a lot of change; this development has been the most positive change for our community during my tenure.”  The Village Hall portion of the facility holds the Administrative Offices for the Village of Mt. Zion. “We were busting at the seams with the Police Department in our facility on Main Street.”   Miller explained. “After the Village Hall was complete, the Main Street facility was remodeled to accommodate the expanding needs of our Police Department by our Public Works Department, saving tens of thousands of dollars.”

The best way to measure the success of a TIF District is to compare the current property values to the property values prior to its establishment.  TIF Districts in Illinois have a maximum life of 23 years unless the State Legislature approves a 12 year extension.  Mt. Zion’s TIF District was established in 1986 and was set to expire in 2009 until a 12 year extension was granted extending the TIF District to 2021.  TIF funds are not additional taxes.  TIF funds are created by redirecting where incremental property tax revenues go.  Thus, increased revenues generated by increases in the assessed value, due to expansions, improvements, or new developments within the district are placed in a special fund to help economic development efforts.

“According to Macon County, the taxable value (EAV or 1/3 Fair Market Value) for Mt. Zion’s TIF District has grown from $965,673 to $4,381,415” Miller explained.  “That equates to $13,144,245 of investment in our community.” Over half of the growth, nearly 200%, has occurred since 2010 with the development of Mt. Zion Village East and the Mt. Zion Convention Center and Village Hall.  The Mt. Zion Convention Center hosts both private and public events and has been the economic driver for the TIF District and the development on Rt. 121.  Not only has it spurred private development, the Village has seen an increase in many of its revenue sources including Sales/Use Tax.

The Village continues to work with developers and others to fill the remaining property available for development.  At the top of the list of desired occupants is a hotel to accompany the Convention Center, an auto parts store, a furniture store and other retail businesses for residents.  “A hotel adjacent to the Convention Center would be a game changer,” Mayor Mark Wells explained.  “Not only would Mt. Zion have a place for visiting families, but it would open up our opportunities to host a variety of events.”  Wells went on to say, “Mt. Zion is a great place to live, raise a family and have a business. Our doors are open to anyone looking to build their story here in Mt. Zion.”