Metro-East News

Enterprise zones approved, renewed in Madison County

The state legislature has approved renewal of three business enterprise zones in Madison County and the creation of a fourth “Discovery Zone,” which will provide development benefits in six municipalities.

Enterprise zones include a number of business benefits to encourage development, including abatement of sales tax on construction materials and sometimes property tax exemptions. This bill renewed the Riverbend, Southwestern Madison County and Gateway Commerce zones for 25 years. The new enterprise zone, called the Discovery Zone, includes portions of Collinsville, Glen Carbon, Maryville, Troy, Highland and St. Jacob.

“The enterprise zone program in Madison County has been particularly successful, providing the county and local units of government with the tools and incentives necessary to stimulate new business development and create jobs for our residents,” said Madison County Chairman Alan Dunstan.

Dunstan said without the benefits of an enterprise zone, Madison County’s growth as a distribution center would not have taken place. “Importantly, the enterprise zones also help us retain businesses,” he said. “There is no revenue coming into Madison County if new businesses do not move into our area or existing businesses choose not to expand or relocate to another area.”

The Gateway Commerce Enterprise Zone includes the Gateway Commerce Center, which lies on the boundary between Edwardsville and Pontoon Beach as well as portions of unincorporated Madison County.

The Riverbend Enterprise Zone includes portions of Alton, Bethalto, East Alton, Hartford, Roxana, South Roxana and Wood River as well as unincorporated areas.

The Southwestern Madison County Enterprise Zone includes portions of Granite City, Madison and Venice as well as unincorporated areas.

Dunstan said that Discovery Zone municipal leaders will meet with county development staff to familiarize them with the benefits they can offer developers through the new enterprise zone, and update meetings will be held in each area affected by the renewals in coming weeks.

The zones had been approved by local leaders and sent to the legislature months ago but were held up until January due to the state budget crisis.

Elizabeth Donald: 618-239-2507, @BNDedonald