For the past year and a half, we have been working on getting an extension of the existing enterprise zone in Freeport. The extension is for a residential enterprise zone in a designated area of Freeport which allows benefits for both builders and buyers of new construction. As most of you know that live in Freeport, there has not been any new “spec” residential construction in almost 10 years. As most of you also know, new construction is generally seen as a sign of growth and health in the overall economy of the area- something that has been missing in Freeport.
The process was long and required the approval of many. The application process is very involved and dependent on the approval of the taxing bodies involved. Over the past year, presentations were made to the City Council, the County Board, the School Board, the Park District Board and the Board at Highland College. These boards along with Carroll & Jo Daviess counties had to vote to approve the expansion before we could send the application to the State of Illinois for approval. On October 11 we received the final approval from the State for our residential enterprise zone in Freeport!
So what exactly does that mean for our area? The enterprise zone allows benefits to be offered to both the builders and the buyers of new homes in the designated area. The builders’ benefits include lower or waived permit fees and sales tax exemptions on certain building materials. The benefit to the home buyer is a property tax abatement on the majority of their property taxes through 2020. The benefit to everyone is the potential for close to 25 new homes and condos to be
built and added to the tax rolls and the resulting economic boost from new construction in our area.
The area involved includes specific vacant lots on Shimer & Katherine Drives and Rye Ridge Court and Circle. There are applications and time lines that need to be followed in order to receive the benefits and there will be more information available to anyone that is interested. Any licensed builder can take advantage of these incentives and we are hopeful this will encourage participation.
This comes at a time when we are seeing a lot of positive things happen in Freeport with the All In and Collaborate Freeport movements as well as the various business expansions and openings. This will hopefully stimulate the residential housing market and be another sign of good things happening in Freeport. I would like to thank everyone who was involved in making this happen including the Freeport City Council and Administration, NIDA, Stephenson County Assessor’s Office, the Local and County taxing bodies, the lot owners and potential builders and the future purchasers of these new homes. Watch for more information and a groundbreaking coming soon!