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Local

Sycamore parks board moves forward on joining enterprise zone

Dan Gibble, executive director for Sycamore Park District, speaks during the district's board  meeting Tuesday night at the Sports Complex Maintenance Building on Airport Road in Sycamore.
Dan Gibble, executive director for Sycamore Park District, speaks during the district's board meeting Tuesday night at the Sports Complex Maintenance Building on Airport Road in Sycamore.

SYCAMORE – The Sycamore Park District Board unanimously approved moving forward on joining the enterprise zone in DeKalb County.

The district’s commissioners voted, 4-0, to join the zone during their meeting Tuesday night at the Sycamore Park District Maintenance Building. Commissioner Ann Tucker was absent.

The vote was held after commissioners heard presentations about the zone from the DeKalb County Economic Development Corp. and Sycamore City Manager Brian Gregory. Dan Gibble, executive director for the district, said during the meeting that the vote would authorize him to finalize documentation with DCEDC to officially become part of the zone. The board still needs to vote on the final contract at a later date.

“This just states that we are expressing interest in joining,” Gibble said.

An enterprise zone is meant to encourage economic development in a geographic area by offering property tax incentives to new businesses and industrial developments.

The county’s enterprise zone was certified by the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity in 2016 after the County Board approved the zone in 2014. It has brought 26 new projects into the county since it was certified.

Gibble said the move for the district to join the enterprise zone would act more as a formality, since the park district already offers abatements to help attract new businesses to Sycamore.

“It just extends maybe to a few more different parcels,” Gibble said.

DeKalb County, the cities of DeKalb, Sycamore, Genoa and Sandwich, the town of Cortland and the village of Waterman are part of the enterprise zone. Other participating taxing bodies include DeKalb School District 428, DeKalb Township, the Kishwaukee Water Reclamation District, DeKalb Public Library, Sycamore Public Library, Kishwaukee College, Genoa-Kingston School District 424, Indian Creek School District 425, Genoa Township, the Genoa Public Library and Sycamore School District 427, which voted to join the enterprise zone in June.

Board President Bill Kroeger said the board originally was presented the opportunity to join the zone a couple of years ago when the zone was created, but commissioners were not comfortable with an immediate vote of approval on the matter at the time. Now that the board has had time to evaluate its options, it sees some clear business incentives for the city, he said.

“I think we see it as a positive for the community, for Sycamore,” Kroeger said.

Gibble said the hope is to have the board vote on a new contract between the park district and the DCEDC at the board’s Nov. 27 meeting.

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