(Mt. Vernon, Illinois) –The City Council held a workshop yesterday to discuss and tour the retired Armory and examine new Enterprise Zone Benefits. Site plans have been developed for the old Armory to become a multi-use recreational facility. The building offers a total of 20,000 square feet that would allow standing room occupancy of 2,000 and a seated occupancy of 667. It is hoped this facility will provide a variety of possibilities for public use to include office spaces for starter businesses, program activity rooms, space for indoor vendors at market days, a stage and a recreational floor. It has been proposed a commercial grade kitchen will be available to use for a bakery or other small café type restaurant. The City has submitted a Parc Project application to the State of Illinois for funding. The total estimated cost to restore the retired Armory is just over $2 million. Having the multi-functional space is expected to bring revenue to the City and rejuvenate the area after the High School moves to its new location across town. Enterprise Zone Benefits were also discussed and recommended for revision, in parts. The most impactful change suggested relates to property tax abatement on future improvements in the Enterprise Zone. These modifications are anticipated to bring more businesses to the area and increase overall revenue of the City long term. Proposed changes to tax abatement include Medical offices and clinics will receive 100% property tax abatement on the improvements for 5 years; an increase in duration over the current benefits of 100% abatement for the first year and 50% the second. Commercial projects are recommended to include market rate multi-family housing with 10 or more units. The need for housing in the City is climbing and allowing multi-family housing to benefit from initial property tax abatement is expected to bring new construction to address the City’s housing needs. Commercial projects investing up to $2.9million will receive a 3 year, 100% property tax abatement and commercial projects investing $3million and over will receive 5 years of 100% property tax abatement. All proposed revisions must be approved before the end of the year.

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