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Sycamore parks board considers joining DeKalb County enterprise zone

A sign is photographed on July 6, 2017 in Sycamore.
A sign is photographed on July 6, 2017 in Sycamore.

SYCAMORE – Sycamore Park District officials are considering whether they, too, will join the enterprise zone in DeKalb County.

City officials presented information to the parks board about possibly joining the enterprise zone during the board’s meeting Tuesday.

Dan Gibble, executive director for the Sycamore Park District, said board commissioners were not for or against moving forward and becoming part of the zone, but there were a lot of questions asked during the Tuesday meeting. The board was offered the opportunity to join the enterprise zone in the past, but the concern always was to make sure the park district doesn’t make a decision without careful consideration, he said.

“So it wasn’t like we weren’t doing anything,” Gibble said. “But we didn’t want to feel rushed into it.”

The presentation from city officials during Tuesday’s parks board meeting came after the Sycamore School District 427 voted to join the enterprise zone in June, nearly two years after the zone was certified within the county.

An enterprise zone’s purpose is to encourage economic development in a geographic area by offering property tax incentives to new businesses and industrial developments. The DeKalb County enterprise zone was certified by the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity in 2016 after the County Board approved the zone in 2014 with the support of several municipalities.

Since being certified, the enterprise zone has brought 26 new projects into the county. Of those 26 projects,
12 were manufacturing and industrial, 10 were commercial and mixed commercial use, two were professional services, and two were contractors.

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Although the park district is not part of the enterprise zone, Gibble said, the park district already offers abatements to help attract new businesses to Sycamore.

“What we provide if we do join is no different than what we’re doing already,” Gibble said. “It just seems like a formality to me.”

DeKalb County, the cities of DeKalb, Sycamore, Genoa and Sandwich, the town of Cortland and the village of Waterman all are units of government that are part of the enterprise zone. The original participating taxing bodies within the zone were DeKalb School District 428, DeKalb Township, the Kishwaukee Water Reclamation District, DeKalb Public Library, Sycamore Public Library, Kishwaukee College, Genoa-Kingston School District 424 and Indian Creek School District 425.

Other taxing bodies have joined the enterprise zone since 2017, including Genoa Township, the Genoa Public Library and Sycamore School District 427.

Gibble said next steps on the subject include talking more with new board President Bill Kroeger on the matter. Although he’s unsure if there will be public comment at this point, the earliest the parks board would vote on the matter would be during its meeting at 6 p.m. Sept. 25 in the Sports Complex Maintenance Building, 435 S. Airport Road, he said.

“They know what people are thinking and they’ll take that into consideration if they take action,” Gibble said.


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