COLLINSVILLE — The city council finished amending its tax increment financing district Monday for the Collins Park project, which is already well on its way.
The TIF district was established in 1986 and has been modified several times to expand and extend it. But this change does not alter the boundaries, tax rates or expiration date on the TIF district, according to community developer Paul Mann.
Instead, the TIF amendment is required because the Collins Park project required relocating the 21 residents of the Main Square Apartments. The council voted months ago to purchase the apartment building and adjacent warehouse for $1.1 million.
Once the buildings are demolished, the city plans to relocate the historic D.D. Collins House to the end of the block in a park setting, establishing a visual entrance to downtown. The rest of the block will be marketed to developers for mixed-use development, a combination of residential and retail, Mann said.
All 21 residents have been relocated to new homes, and only one warehouse tenant remains, with intentions to vacate in mid-July, Mann said.
In the meantime, the Collinsville Fire Department, Police Department and the regional SWAT team have been conducting training exercises in the buildings. Uptown coordinator Leah Joyce said asbestos abatement will begin on July 16, with bids going out this week for demolition.
Mann said some renovations have continued at the Collins House, with new plaster, porch steps and a heating/air-conditioning system. Some work will have to wait until after the house is moved to its new location, Mann said.
Plans for the park also have continued, Mann said, with approval from the Historic Preservation Commission.
The amendment to the TIF district was unanimously approved by the council, with Councilman Jeff Kypta absent.
In other news, the council approved placing the question of electricity supply on the ballot again. If successful, the referendum would allow the city to negotiate with electricity suppliers to find a cheaper rate, with Ameren remaining as the city's distributor.
Residents would still be able to opt out of the lower rate and stick with their current supplier if they chose.
The electric aggregation referendum was narrowly defeated in the March election for Collinsville, as well as Belleville and Granite City. Trenton, Aviston, Columbia, Glen Carbon, Shiloh and New Baden approved it, along with other towns that already had it.
Mayor John Miller said he believes the referendum failed due to inadequate advertisement of the issue. He pointed out that Peoria-area communities approved aggregation in March and are now seeing rates that are 25 to 30 percent lower after going through aggregation.
"We are going to advertise it and put the word out to the public so people will have a better knowledge of what they're voting for," Miller said.
Contact reporter Elizabeth Donald at firstname.lastname@example.org or 239-2501.